Liebherr-International AG

09/14/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/14/2021 10:19

Liebherr Mining advances Zero Emission Program

Pathway to Zero Emission solutions

As second step, Liebherr is now targeting to offer completely fossil fuel free mining equipment for hauling, digging, and dozing by 2030. This development will take into consideration the GHG emissions over equipment's full lifecycle, as well as the overall well-to-wheel energy ecosystem. The company is also taking into account the operational mining process conditions that influence the right energy type choice.

Liebherr will develop three drivetrain options to achieve near zero emissions for its off-highway trucks: battery power module, internal combustion engines powered by renewable fuels, and H2 fuel cell-battery power module.

Drivetrain electrification through battery combined with trolley assist is already underway.

Despite some challenges, Liebherr sees also an opportunity that the propulsion energy can be provided by using hydrogen fuel cell-battery hybrids.

Research and development for internal combustion engines operating with renewable-based alternative fuels is progressing very well within the Liebherr Group, with Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO) as an approved fuel for machines powered by Liebherr engines as a first step. Hydrogen combustion engines are also currently being tested in Liebherr's factory in Switzerland. The methanol combustion process has been developed for large displacement engines and is ready to move towards serial engine industrialisation based on market demand. Additionally, the ammonia combustion process is under investigation, with Liebherr seeing high potential in the usage of ammonia for heavy mobile, high energy demanding machines and gensets.

Liebherr mining excavators and dozers will also both have the option to be powered by internal combustion engines running on alternative fuels, along with the already existing electric drive version for excavators.

To achieve near zero emissions for the mining dozer and excavator, it is also crucial to utilise the most efficient drive system to reduce fuel consumption. The Liebherr hydrostatic drive system already achieves up to 20% improved fuel efficiency compared to mechanical competitor products. Despite this, Liebherr is currently in the process of comparing efficiency of an electric drive on a dozer prototype with hydrostatic drive efficiency. Given Liebherr's expertise in both hydrostatic and electric AC drive systems, the company is in best position to choose the most appropriate option for the best drive system for the near zero emission solution.

To accelerate the process and ensure the best solutions will be offered, Liebherr is partnering with industry experts for their Zero Emission Program. ABB, a leader in power and automation technologies, develops state-of-the-art technology and equipment for overall electrification of mine sites and supports our customers and Liebherr with a particular focus on trolley assist infrastructure deployment. ENGIE, the global reference in renewable hydrogen, low-carbon energy, and services, will jointly with Liebherr evaluate the different renewable energy solutions, in particular renewable hydrogen and hydrogen-derived fuels, for loading, hauling, and dozing processes. This cooperation ensures that an integrated well-to-wheel approach is basis to define the best solutions for the mining industry.

With concept studies nearly finalised for trolley-battery hybrid, and ammonia and methanol for internal combustion engines, Liebherr expects to undertake field validation from 2024-2026, followed by the integration of proven fossil fuel free solutions from 2026-2030 into the entire range of mining machines.