Hitachi Energy was named as one of the eight finalists in the Charge On Challenge. According to the company (formerly known as Hitachi ABB Power Grids), the principal innovative features of its proposal include:

• Delivering 8 MW of power, enabling vehicles to be charged in just a few minutes in a safe way and allowing trucks to operate 24/7.

• Delivering an interoperable, flexible Energy Transfer System (ETS) that is free of any catenary infrastructure and that can easily adapt to mine site changes over time.

• Dynamic energy management to increase reliability, resiliency and power quality as mining operations transition to broader electrification including their larger haul trucks.

• Achieving greater levels of sustainability while maintaining core operating practices and productivity of the mine.

Matt Zafuto, Hitachi Energy’s vice president of industry solutions, commented on how the company’s proposed innovations and overall technical competency led to a spot in the final group of eight.

E&MJ: Congratulations to Hitachi Energy for being selected as one of eight vendors shortlisted in the Charge On Innovation Challenge. There are several other major players in the list with extensive experience in electrical engineering and industrial software as well. In what areas of high-capacity fast-charging technology does Hitachi Energy believe it has a competitive edge when applied to large haul trucks and other OTR equipment?

Zafuto: Our expertise spans end-to-end mining processes including core assets, systems and digital technology enablers and the interdependencies amongst the systems, assets and workforce. Our core competency with regards to microgrids, utility grids and electrification of industrial processes is industry-leading, and our proven ability to innovate in other market segments such as rail and buses highlights our capability to deliver leading edge solutions as vehicles electrify. Bringing these three areas together positions us optimally to deliver innovations to this critical industry.

E&MJ: Hitachi Energy’s Grid-eMotion Flash technology has been used in on-highway transportation applications. Does Hitachi’s experience in that sector carry over to the technology’s use in mining applications in any significant way? What kind of adaptation is needed to transition the technology from transportation to mining applications?

Zafuto: Our expertise in transportation gives us an excellent starting point with which to innovate. Because of our transportation expertise, we will have the ability to focus on “innovation, not invention.” Adaptations include ruggedizing our solutions for mining environments as well as adding mobility to the wayside and Energy Transfer System in order to adapt and change as the mine site changes.

E&MJ: How would the use of Hitachi’s flash charging technology change the nature of today’s typical mine infrastructure? And broadly speaking, what changes would be needed, if any, in operator training, worker safety or maintenance know-how to sustain the system operationally?

Zafuto: Several core business processes will change including maintenance of the vehicles, refueling practices, integration with autonomous vehicle systems and, most of all, more comprehensive energy and power quality management. In fact, our digital solutions will be a key driver of value and a crucial part of accelerating our innovations.