General Electric says its Durathon battery has successfully powered its Mining Scoop, an underground vehicle that transports mining materials, at Coal River Energy in Alum Creek, W. Va.
GE Mining and GE Energy Storage, two businesses within GE Transportation, collaborated to combine the Durathon battery, an Ecomagination-qualified product, with GE’s Invertex underground propulsion system to develop a more efficient mining scoop.
The company says the Durathon battery technology features several benefits that make it faster and cleaner than traditional batteries, including at least 40 percent more operating range. The battery is 25 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter than traditional batteries, enabling more energy to be stored in a smaller space. The battery-powered scoop operates more effectively in extreme temperatures and requires no cooling and minimal maintenance, GE says.
Additionally, the battery contains no lead acid materials. This eliminates the release of gases when charging, removes explosive fuel sources underground and reduces mineworker exposure to diesel particulate matter — three key safety priorities for the mining industry.
GE Mining acquired Fairchild’s underground mining equipment in 2012. Following the acquisition, GE Mining initiated a program to combine the Fairchild underground mining scoop with GE’s Invertex underground propulsion system and Durathon battery technology.
GE says it will continue testing this technology. The company expects the Durathon battery powered scoop to be available in 2014.
Mining companies such as Rio Tinto and Barrick Gold are beginning to adopt greener technologies, spawning a cottage industry of companies aimed at helping the mining industry clean up after hundreds of years of inefficiencies and waste, according to a report published this week by cleantech research and advisory firm Kachan & Co.