ABB, Boliden, and Epiroc create first battery-electric trolley underground truck system

ABB, Boliden, and Epiroc reached a new mining milestone by successfully deploying the first fully battery-electric trolley truck system on an 800-meter-long […]
ABB, Boliden, and Epiroc have collaborated to create the first battery-electric underground truck with a trolley system. Credit: ABB

ABB, Boliden, and Epiroc reached a new mining milestone by successfully deploying the first fully battery-electric trolley truck system on an 800-meter-long underground mine test track in Sweden, with a 13% incline. This means the mining industry is a step closer to realizing the all-electric mine of the future.

The achievement in Boliden’s Kristineberg mine marks a critical moment for the mining industry as it continues to face rising pressures to balance increased outputs of critical minerals and metals with lower carbon emissions and energy usage.

In tandem with reducing carbon emissions, the electrification of mining also promises improved health and safety for the workforce. By deploying this system, the collaboration partners aim to prove that the underground working environment can be significantly improved, with less emissions, noise and vibration while reducing the total cost per tonne.

Each partner has provided a unique set of expertise to this development, clearly demonstrating the value of industry collaboration. ABB created the infrastructure from grid to wheel, including the electric trolley truck system design and the rectifier substation for the test track. Epiroc has added dynamic charging to its proven battery-electric Minetruck MT42 SG and battery system, and the trolley solution is equipped with ABB’s DC converter, HES880 inverters and AMXE motors to enhance the power.

The definition of standards and vehicle interface was jointly developed by the project partners. The eMine trolley system also integrates with the distributed control system ABB Ability System 800xA to monitor the electrical system.

The truck features a trolley pantograph connected to an overhead catenary line, a concept which is highly suitable for long haul ramps. The electric trolley line gives additional assistance to the battery-electric mine truck on the most demanding stretches up-ramp while fully loaded, enabling further reach and battery regeneration during drift, which increases productivity drastically for a mining operation.

To design a solution that could adapt to voltage fluctuations along an underground system, ABB collaborated with its partners to build a digital twin to simulate all scenarios. The result is a dynamic trolley system, with intelligent switchgear, measurements and transparency with the inbuilt ability to adjust power where it is needed at any given moment.

This project is supported by funding from the Swedish innovation agency Vinnova and their ‘sustainable industry’ initiative and will contribute to Boliden’s vision to be the most climate friendly and respected metals provider in the world.

Boliden intends to implement a full-scale, autonomous electric-trolley system in the Rävliden mine, a satellite orebody and extension of the Kristineberg mine, and has placed an order for four Minetruck MT42 SG trolley trucks from Epiroc. The total distance will be 5 km at a depth of 750 meters. Once achieved, not only will Rävliden have significantly less carbon emissions compared to a mine using conventional technology, it will also be part of setting a standard for new mines. 

For more information about ABB’s vision for mining, contact an ABB expert.

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