Mining is set to become a tiny bit greener with hydrogen-powered haul trucks | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: July 16, 2024

Mining companies are responsible for a huge chunk of our carbon emissions. One reason why is that the process requires big trucks to haul those minerals and ore around. With heavy loads and lots of back-and-forth travel, a fleet of these diesel-powered dump trucks are the main source of greenhouse gas emissions in surface mining operations.

But everything from our phones to our attempt to transition to renewables relies on mining a lot of materials. One mining company is trying to balance those contradictions by reducing its truck-related carbon output with the world’s first hydrogen-powered mining truck.

Seattle-based engineering firm First Mode will develop the technology for Anglo American, a global mining company that produces platinum, diamonds, copper, nickel, iron ore, and more. The hydrogen-powered haul truck is scheduled to be deployed sometime in 2020 and is expected to only use hydrogen fuel that was produced without emissions. 

But how good is it to use a carbon-free truck to haul around extractive materials that are part of a bigger environmentally harmful practice? While it may seem ironic, mining is an industry poised to stay as many renewable technologies relied on precious metals that come from mining in order to function.

One day we will hopefully find greener ways to source metals for renewable technologies, such as through improved recycling, but until then, it’s good that we at least make the mining process as green as possible.

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