Holcim deploys hydrogen hybrids in the Pilbara

A Scania roadtrain in the Pilbara.

Holcim, Scania and HYDI are partnering to decarbonise the logistics chain in Australia’s remote northwest.

Roadtrains are used by Holcim Australia to transport quarry materials from the Turner River, Newman and Nickol Bay quarries in the Pilbara region to fixed and mobile concrete batch plants and other customers.

Scania R620 V8 Euro 5 145-tonne-rated prime movers are deployed for this task.

Each roadtrain pulls a payload of up to 100 tonnes in triple trailer configurations, on haul distances from as little as 10 kilometres up to 600 kms.

To help advance Holcim’s ambition to reduce Scope 3 emissions by reducing diesel consumption and emissions, two prime movers were retrofitted with a HYDI Hydrogen on Demand HY2500 vertical unit that produces hydrogen on demand for controlled delivery to internal combustion engines.

Holcim has seen reductions in fuel consumption of up to 15 per cent.

This is only part of the benefit of the hybrid system according to Adam Evans, Logistics Manager for Aggregates Western Australia at Holcim.

“On top of the fuel consumption figures, excitingly, we’re seeing the additional emission reductions of 17 per cent less carbon dioxide (CO₂), 80 per cent lower diesel particulate matter (DPM), 22 per cent lower nitrogen oxides (NOX), and 25 per cent lower carbon monoxide (CO),” he said.

Holcim, according to Robert Taylor, Scania Australia General Manager, Mining, has seen fuel performance savings estimated at 15 per cent when hauling payloads up to 100-tonnes in three-trailer combinations.

“The Scania onboard management system confirms these figures,” he said. “The reductions in fuel burn and reductions in emissions, is entirely in line with our aim at Scania to reduce emissions during the entire working lives of our products.”

Holcim is set to install HYDI systems in two additional prime movers as well as some of its contractor fleet throughout Western Australia.

“We are also exploring options to have HYDI units installed on other equipment including diesel generators and heavy mining equipment,” said Evans.

The HYDI unit produces hydrogen from distilled water using electrolysis via a proton exchange membrane. The unit draws a low electrical input from the host engine while in operation.

Hydrogen supplements the diesel fuel to create a cleaner and more complete combustion process with the amount of hydrogen produced optimised for the capacity and application of the engine.

Developed in Australia over more than a decade, the leading-edge technology delivers improved machinery performance by increasing torque, a reduction in fuel consumption, cleaner burn that reduces engine soot and extends oil and filter service intervals, and lower harmful emissions – including DPM, CO₂ and CO.

The system provides the capability to transition heavy, diesel-powered machinery into cleaner, more cost-efficient equipment at a fraction of the cost of replacement.

“HYDI’s technology harnesses the benefits of hydrogen in an efficient, affordable and sophisticated way scaled to apply to multiple applications,” noted John Wilson, Managing Director of HYDI.

Scania has been a committed and enthusiastic partner in the trial and have honoured the original repair and maintenance package provided with the vehicles.

“Scania stepped up to the project, made sure we had all the vehicle and system information needed for a smooth installation of the HYDI units, and are eager to help us extend the project even further,” said Evans.

The HYDI Hydrogen on Demand system can be simply, quickly and relatively inexpensively integrated into the existing diesel technology of Scania vehicles.

“In Australia we have to say that realistically the general availability of reliable, affordable hydrogen as a fuel for heavy haulage is still some way off, particularly regarding use in remote mining operations,” said Taylor.

“As a result, the HYDI Hydrogen on Demand solution does appear to be providing a real-world and affordable solution for our customers who want or need to make an immediate reduction in fuel burn and their carbon footprint emissions across their transport functions.”

The investment and installation of the transitional technology into the Holcim fleet further highlights the company’s commitment to reduce its Scope 3 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions 90 per cent by 2050 from a 2020 base year it said in a statement.

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