The powerhouse of mining
Liebherr’s D98 engine series is designed specifically for mining applications. With its modular design, this engine can be used in equipment produced by Liebherr and by other OEMs. When designing these engines, Liebherr took advantage of every opportunity to reduce GHG emissions. One such opportunity was including selective catalytic reduction (SCR) in the design of the D98 engine to comply with the latest emission regulations. SCR is an active emissions control system that reduces the nitrogen oxides (NOx) produced by the engine to near zero. A chemical reaction within the system converts NOx to nitrogen, water, and minute amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) before running the transformed gases through a particulate filter and emitting them from the exhaust pipe.
Despite being originally designed as a diesel engine, the D98 series can also work with certain alternative fuels. Due to the engine’s larger volume displacement, the D98 series can use synthetic renewable fuels such as hydrotreated vegetable oil and up to 10% biodiesel. The D98 series is also being used as the basis for developing internal combustion engines that can operate using other kinds of alternative fuels, with multiple factories from within the Liebherr Group participating in different projects.
At the Bauma 2022 exhibition, Liebherr demonstrated its expertise in hydrogen engines by winning the Bauma Innovation Award in the climate protection category for its first hydrogen-powered excavator, powered by Liebherr’s H966 hydrogen engine. Liebherr began developing hydrogen combustion engines in 2019 and now, following the H966 engine’s success at Bauma, Liebherr is further exploring the capabilities of these engines with ammonia. Testing this fuel source in an internal combustion engine is expected in early 2023.
Partners in success
Liebherr has also entered strategic partnerships with customers and industry experts alike to explore options for the development of zero emission solutions that can be offered to customers in the future.
Fortescue Metals Group
Liebherr's partnership with Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) was announced in June 2022. The collaboration between these two companies will focus on the delivery of zero emission mining trucks to the wider mining industry. Liebherr will work closely with two FMG businesses – Fortescue Future Industries and WAE – to install battery technology into the T 264 mining truck.
“This project provides us with an excellent opportunity to accelerate the integration of alternative drive systems into our mining equipment, supporting our vision and strategy to offer zero emission machines with the most suitable drive technologies in the future. Along the way, we will support our customers in choosing technology options from our wide range of products that are most suitable to them,” said Weiss.
The process of integrating these zero emission technologies into the T 264 will take approximately two years, with supply of these fossil fuel free machines commencing once the development phase had concluded.
Over the past few years, Liebherr has partnered with a number of trolley service and infrastructure suppliers to be able to offer customers the best possible trolley solutions for their specific site requirements. Working with a variety of suppliers has helped Liebherr to provide customers with the best performance option for their sites at the lowest cost. The first trolley system defined through the collaboration between customer, Liebherr Mining, and trolley service and infrastructure suppliers will be deployed in 2024, to a customer in South America.
“Liebherr has, and will continue to build up, know-how for dynamic and stationary charging. Our application engineers use specific simulation software to identify the optimal trolley system design for each customer. All elements – such as potential locations to place trolley line hardware, length of lines, ramp design, and other important elements – will be looked at to optimise cost, maximise production, and minimise total emissions. This information results in clear recommendations for the best trolley system, based customers’ mine layouts,” said Weiss.
Weiss is also aware of the challenges that customers can face when including zero emission technologies in their mining practices.
“Zero emission technology is new to our customers and can require some adjustments on their part. But if this technology is used correctly, emissions will be reduced while optimising both energy consumption and total cost of ownership,” said Weiss.
“As we convert our products to zero emission, we will offer our customers additional advisory services. These services aim to assist our customers by providing specific know-how so that they can make the best use of Liebherr’s mining solutions and get the maximum performance out of their machines. As a result, customers’ mining processes and performance will be improved through optimal use of our technology products,” Weiss continued.
At MINExpo 2021, Liebherr and ENGIE announced their partnership to research different pathways to fossil fuel free mining solutions. Specifically, the two companies have been evaluating the workability of different renewable energies – with a focus on hydrogen and hydrogen-derived fuels such as ammonia – to be used in well-to-wheel solutions for the mining industry.
Part of this collaborative effort involved ENGIE supporting Liebherr during its feasibility study investigating the most effective zero emission technologies for mining equipment. The information gained from this study has been crucial as Liebherr works towards offering zero emission mining solutions by 2030.
“We have teamed up with ENGIE so we can work together to reduce our customers’ risks when investing in zero emission mining equipment. Liebherr Mining can guarantee the performance of our machines while ENGIE guarantees the availability of the fuel,” said Weiss. “With the support of both companies, customers can be sure that they have a full solution as well as transparency about the well-to-wheel emissions and energy costs associated with their chosen solution for reaching their zero emission targets.”