Viability analysis of underground mining machinery using green hydrogen as a fuel

C. Fúnez Guerra, L. Reyes-Bozo, E. Vyhmeister, M. Jaén Caparrós, J. L. Salazar, A. Godoy-Faúndez, C. Clemente-Jul, D. Verastegui-Rayo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The processes and logistics of the mining industry have continually undergone transformations in order to deal with rigorous regulations, economic considerations, safety and the social burden regarding environmental conditions (i.e. every sustainability pillar). In underground mines, the use of diesel-powered machinery has been increased in the past decades. The combustion of diesel fuel produces a great quantity of pollutants (i.e. gas emissions, particulate matter, etc.). Thus, a constant ventilation is required to satisfy the regulations on health and safety of miners. One of the innovative transformations that underground mining processes have adopted is the use of electrical Load Haul Dumps (LHDs) to reduce the in-mine emissions and the ventilation burden and to improve in-mine working conditions, among other benefits. Electric mobile LHDs could be further improved by replacing battery-based energy supplies with hydrogen fuel cells. The present work focuses on the techno-economic assessment of modifying electrical LHDs by incorporating different processes and equipment (i.e. fuel cell stacks, storage tanks, DC/DC converters). The base case considers the modification of the whole mining fleet of diesel-based LHDs. As a result, a positive Net Present Value (for the project time span under consideration) and a payback period of 7.78 years were observed. The sensitivity analysis showed that considerable modifications of the current states of diesel price are required so that modifications are not feasible (diesel prices of 0.53 €/l). A tight electricity cost of 70 €/MWh was obtained as a breaking point (considerably safe for several industrial conditions).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5112-5121
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Fuel cell range extender
  • Hydrogen
  • Hydrogen refuelling station
  • Underground mining machinery
  • Viability analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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