If you are in the market for a mine haul truck, you may want to consider getting a hybrid model. They are not on sale yet, but GE is working hard to ensure that your next purchase of an off-highway hauling vehicle is as energy efficient as possible. Setting a new precedent, GE’s hybrid has been fitted with a 600hp battery pack and a system that captures its braking energy. It’s a mean, big, hybrid hauling machine!
Developed in conjunction with the US Department of Energy, the prototype was an effort to develop a system that could capture the dissipated energy of a large electric haul truck. This type of vehicle uses a diesel engine to power traction motor inverters. The amount of energy required to move these large trucks means that a rather huge amount of heat is generated when the truck’s brakes are in use. GE’s idea is to take this heat, turn it into energy and store it in the truck’s batteries. When the driver requires a bit more power, the energy from the batteries is used to supplement the engine, thus improving the fuel consumption of the truck.
Of course, we can’t help note the irony of trying to turn a coal mine truck “green.” Saving a bit of fuel in an effort to move more coal is not an eco-friendly endeavor in the big picture. However, the technology behind it is impressive and there are sure to be a number of applications where it can be used for the greater good.