Rolls-Royce debuts sustainable mining automation innovation

British brand Rolls-Royce to debut its latest step in automation - a new sustainable MTU hybrid haul truck steering mining towards net-zero emissions

For an industry as high-polluting as mining, it makes sense that the sector leaders are changing their policies on the technology they’re choosing to adopt in their operations. The world is on a global emissions kick, targeting decarbonisation wherever possible. And keen to jump on the bandwagon of innovation - targeting mining automation specifically - is British brand Rolls-Royce. The company has debuted its bid to steer the industry towards net-zero emissions at MINExpo 2021 in the form of its MTU hybrid haul truck, which it hopes will succeed in reducing emissions by up to 30%. 

The MINExpo 2021 will no doubt see sustainability-focused technology given the limelight, with climate change and mining’s contribution to the impending crisis very much at the forefront of company minds. And with sustainable fuel alternatives, hydrogen engines, and microgrids all being thrown around as possible solutions to the mounting environmental pressure on the industry, Rolls-Royce is chiming in with its very own proposal. 

Mining automation steered towards sustainable alternatives

Manufactured on the foundations of MTU products already in circulation, Rolls-Royce’s mining haul truck is an innovative 16V 2000 mining engine powered by an MTU EnergyPack battery system. The company has already succeeded in operating the haul truck in simulated operations, receiving the rewards of reduced CO2 emissions by 22% on pre-existing trucks applying the technology, and 30% on newly built automation.

“We envision equipping haul trucks with a combination of MTU diesel engines and batteries; our MTU Energy Packs,” says Alexander Richter, Mining Application Engineer for Rolls-Royce. “The batteries are recharged by recuperating braking energy when going downhill. This stored energy is used to provide power to the loaded truck when going uphill. This allows us to replace the existing engine with a downsized one, leading to huge fuel savings and a meaningful reduction in CO2 emissions.”

Rolls-Royce powers ahead with environmental vision

Additionally, Rolls-Royce is working on developing a number of sustainable alternatives to the mining industry like fuel cells and combustion engines that run solely on hydrogen. The head of Rolls-Royce’s global mining business, Scott Woodruff, is proud of the company’s environmental agenda and wants to use MINExpo’s platform to shout about the importance of ensuring a sustainable future for the industry.

“Our environment is a critical topic for the mining industry,” he says. “Mining companies are leading change and holding themselves accountable with ambitious, responsible targets to reduce emissions. We will use MINExpo to discuss with the industry how we can help them reach these targets and achieve net-zero emissions.”

The company is a key driver for sustainable technologies and their place within the mining sector, evident in its simultaneously juggling of the upgrade of its MTU engines to cater for sustainable fuel alternatives. Rolls-Royce has set the ambitious target of rapidly expanding its net-zero emissions portfolio, developing the technology and manufacturing the means to ensure the industry’s it’s involved in achieve the acquisition and application of sustainable alternatives


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