Shell Projects Decarbonize Mining Vehicles, Maritime Vessel

Shell Electric Vehicles

(Credit: Shell)

by | Oct 13, 2022

Shell Electric Vehicles

(Credit: Shell)

Shell is part of two large projects to bring low-carbon vehicles and vessels to the mining and maritime industries.

For mining, Shell is creating a nine-member consortium to create a pilot offering electronification platforms for off-road vehicles. In a separate project, a group of companies including HyAxiom, Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering, DNV, and Doosan Fuel Cell Company, are partnering to launch a vessel powered by solid oxide fuel cells by 2025.

The projects come as oil and gas and energy companies continue to look for ways to make improvements in carbon emissions. Those include BP recently procuring renewable natural gas made from food waste, and numerous carbon capture projects even as questions surround how impactful some of the efforts are.

The goal of the mining initiative is to decarbonize off-road vehicles, which produce between 40% and 50% of mining’s carbon emissions, Shell says, by transitioning from diesel. The pilot will create an interoperable electrification system that will reduce the vehicles’ emissions without impacting their overall operational standards, according to the companies involved.

The project will offer mining operations a high-powered battery system with fast charging as well as a microgrid energy system. That will help the platform use renewable energy that is generated on-site or through the grid. The group says the fast chargers will help power vehicles in 90 seconds, and that the microgrids will provide a consistent and reliable source of renewable energy.

Skeleton, Microvast, Stäubli, Carnegie Robotics, Heliox, Spirae, Alliance Automation, Worley, and Shell are working on the off-road electrification project. They say that using battery-electric heavy vehicles will reduce emissions and lower fuel costs by as much as 40% compared with existing trucks.

The mining industry produces about 3% of the world’s carbon emissions, according to McKinsey. Attempts to make decarbonization transitions include Labyrinth Resources using a virtual pipeline power system to provide energy to remote sites, Worley using automated systems to help with fleet electronification, and BHP Western Australia Iron Ore using battery-powered trains.

The fuel cell vessel project is another effort to tackle emissions in a hard-to-abate industry.

Like mining, the maritime industry also produces about 3% of the world’s emissions, but it plays a vital role in supply chain viability, especially with many businesses using it to ship goods. With that use, S&P Global Ratings reports that emissions in the industry can grow to as much as 17% of the global total by 2050.

To develop the ship, HyAxiom will design a solid oxide fuel cell with a long-range capacity. Doosan Fuel Cell Company will manufacture and test the vessel. Korea Shipbuilding will assist with system integration and technological deployments, and DNV will provide technical expertise. When completed Shell will charter the demonstration vessel.

Recent efforts to tackle emissions in shipping include cleaner fuels and more efficient engines, Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels calling for ship owners to transition to zero-carbon power sources by 2040, and automated systems that can track emissions. Once the group’s low-carbon vessel is completed it will operate for one year, during which the group will collect data and study how to further integrate solid oxide fuel cell technology to see how it can be integrated into existing and future ships.

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