EV charging stations for mines above and below ground
Western Australian mining services supplier Murray Engineering and Siemens Australia have collaborated to develop a high-powered electric vehicle charging station for use at mines both below and above ground. The vehicle-agnostic charging stations will first be used to power a new light electric vehicle (eLV) being designed and manufactured by Murray Engineering, providing a holistic, fully enclosed solution specifically designed to handle the toughest underground mining conditions in Australia.
This announcement comes at a time when the mining industry is looking at electric vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions and to protect the health of workers through reduced exposure to diesel fumes. Murray Engineering has the scale and access to test the solution through parent company the Byrnecut Group, said to be the largest underground mining contractor in the country, which also owns one of the largest fleets of light vehicles used in mines.
Siemens Australia Pacific CEO Jeff Connolly welcomed the partnership back in November, saying: “Since 1872, Siemens has been implementing globally renowned technologies to help Australian industry progress. This partnership will continue our trajectory of bringing the best in the world to the region and helping provide safer, quicker, more cost-effective and sustainable solutions.”
The partnership with Murray Engineering helps address a future need by trialling something that has never been done in one of Australia’s most critical industries. The new eLV was unveiled at the Austmine 2021 Conference, which took place last week in Perth.
Siemens is providing its Sicharge UC high-power DC chargers, which provide a super-flexible output range from 125 to 600 kW with five front-ends on each station, as well as pantograph charging. Siemens Sicharge UC200 can deliver 200 kW and is already onsite at Murray Engineering headquarters in Pinjarra. The flexible high-power range of Siemens Sicharge UC portfolio enables the charging stations to scale for light, medium and heavy vehicles.
Murray Engineering has designed and fabricated a heavy-duty enclosure to protect the unit from the harsh underground conditions and enable ease of manoeuvrability. The enclosures are air-conditioned to protect the chargers and have HMI panels on the outside to control the unit. These high-powered units allow vehicles to be fully charged in minutes (rather than hours).
Dr Max Ong, Innovation & Technology Manager at Murray Engineering, said, “Existing battery and charging solutions have fallen short of miners’ expectations where it matters most. Their commitment to cleaner, healthier and sustainable energy requires that the technology delivers equal benefits to productivity, safety and efficiency. Through Murray’s experience and technology capabilities, our fast-charging vehicles and infrastructure will deliver those benefits whilst enhancing asset value and through-life cost.
“Being part of the largest underground mining contracting company in Australia, we understand the vehicle requirements very well and are well placed to develop a solution that not only matches, but also pre-empts the needs of our customers and the industry.”
Murray Engineering owns and operates a large fleet of light vehicles in its own right and integrates mine specification to over 100 vehicles annually.
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