Aurizon and Anglo American have announced that they will undertake a study into using hydrogen-powered trains for bulk freight.
The feasibility study will explore whether hydrogen fuel cell and battery hybrid power units could be used in heavy haul freight rail operations, with a focus on the potential deployment of Anglo American’s hydrogen power technology on Aurizon’s Moura rail corridor and also the Mount Isa Rail corridor.
The Moura corridor operates between Anglo American’s Dawson metallurgical coal mine and the Gladstone Port, and the Mount Isa rail corridor operates between the North West Minerals Province to Townsville Port, via Aurizon’s Stuart Terminal.
As part of its commitment to carbon neutral by 2040, Anglo American is developing green hydrogen solutions for its ultra-class 290 tonne payload mine haul trucking fleet.
Anglo American’s combination of powertrain technologies, designed to operate safely and effectively in real-world mine conditions, will displace the use of the majority of diesel at its mining operations.
Minister for Energy Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said projects like this are important because they enable domestic demand and create an ecosystem for green hydrogen.
“Transport accounts for 14 per cent of emissions, and is the fastest growing sector for emissions.
“However, we recognise that transport can lead the emissions reduction push if we move quickly with initiatives like this one.
Tony O’Neill, Technical Director of Anglo American, said the agreement marks the first time their hydrogen-powered technology could be tested beyond the existing mine haul truck program.
“Displacing our use of diesel is critical to eliminating emissions at our sites and along our value chain. We believe that our innovative hydrogen-led technology provides a versatile solution, whether for trucks or trains or other forms of heavy duty transport,” he said.
Aurizon is Australia’s largest rail freight company, with the decarbonisation of its supply chains at the centre of its target to reach net zero operational emissions by 2050. Aurizon has also commenced research and development for battery-powered trains with a number of industry parties and Australian universities.
“Hydrogen offers enormous opportunity in decarbonising and continuing to improve the competitiveness of Australia’s export supply chains,” Aurizon’s Managing Director & CEO Andrew Harding said.
“This is especially true for bulk products underpinning the Australian economy including minerals, agricultural products and fertilisers, industrials and general freight.”