Komatsu and General Motors join forces for full cells. The Japanese company believes in hydrogen, and we told you about it recently. To be precise, the two companies will co-develop a hydrogen fuel cell power module for Komatsu’s 930E electric drive mining truck.

Behind the choice of General Motors and Komatsu

According to Komatsu, lightweight and quick to refuel, hydrogen fuel cells are ideal for electrifying applications traditionally powered by diesel engines. Hydrogen provides an effective method to package large quantities of energy onboard the vehicle, without compromising payload carrying capacity.

Additionally, fuel cells provide a zero tailpipe emissions solution for vehicles with extreme hauling requirements, like the Komatsu 930E mining truck, with its nominal payload of 320 tons. These vehicles typically operate at a single mine throughout their life, which simplifies the challenges of sizing and deploying an effective hydrogen refueling infrastructure to service the vehicle fleet. GM has been conducting fuel cell research and product development for more than 50 years and is one of the only companies with advanced, homegrown technology platforms for both lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. General Motors and Komatsu believe these complimentary technologies can help spur the adoption of lower-emission mobility solutions and help other industries beyond passenger vehicles meet their sustainability goals.

Quoting GM Hydrotech and Komatsu

At GM, we believe fuel cells can play an integral role in a zero-emissions future, helping to electrify heavier-duty applications, beyond passenger vehicles,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s Global HYDROTEC business. “Mining trucks are among the largest, most capable vehicles used in any industry, and we believe hydrogen fuel cells are best suited to deliver zero emissions propulsion to these demanding applications.

Finding new ways to power the equipment our customers need to do the vital work of mining and construction is a critical part of our commitment to supporting a more sustainable future,” said Dan Funcannon, vice president of North America engineering and development for Komatsu. “This is essential work that requires cross-industry collaboration, and we are excited to be working with GM on this important solution for a haulage offering without tailpipe emissions.”

GM and Komatsu intend to test the first prototype HYDROTEC-powered mining vehicle in the mid-2020s at Komatsu’s Arizona Proving Grounds (AZPG) research and development facility. This vehicle will be powered by over 2 megawatts of HYDROTEC power cubes.

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