The initiative would be the first of its kind to operate in the country as a full electric tug boats package for harbor assisting and tug services.
Electric tug boats are expected to cut down greenhouse gas emissions
As stipulated in the agreement, SAAM will provide two ElectRA 2300 SX tug boats and will begin operations during the second half of 2023. These electric tug boats are expected to cut down as much as 2,400 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
Aside from cutting down carbon emissions, using these electric tug boats will also reduce underwater noise which has been proven to benefit marine life in the harbor.
Jonathan Price, Teck’s Chief Executive Officer said, “Working with SAAM Towage to further reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation of our products is another step forward in achieving our climate goals and contributing to global climate action.”
He further added, “Collaborating with transportation providers to develop green transportation corridors is part of our climate action strategy and supports our goal of net zero emissions by 2050.”
In response to Price’s announcement, SAAM Towage Canada’s President Sanda Bikkers said, “With Teck and Neptune Terminals, SAAM Towage has found value-aligned partners who want to drive sustainable environmental change through innovation. This partnership is based on a shared commitment to do our part to address the global challenge of climate change by reducing our carbon footprint.”
Robert Allan Ltd., a Vancouver-based designer developed and designed the ElectRA Tugs. These electric tug boats will be built at the Sanmar Shipyards in Turkey.
Neptune Terminal is owned by Canpotex Bulk terminals Limited, an affiliate of Canpotex with Teck Coal Partnership which is a subsidiary of Teck Resources.
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This latest announcement by Teck is built upon its goal to work with its partners efficiently while reducing its carbon footprint across the supply chain and achieve a 40% reduction in shipping emission intensity by 2030.
Previously, the company had said that Oldendorff Carriers would use energy-efficient bulk carriers for shipments of Teck steel-making coal from the Port of Vancouver. This, according to the company, would reduce carbon emissions by as much as 45,000 t/y which is equivalent to approximately 10,000 passenger vehicles being removed from the road.
The company has likewise said that a pilot of a fully electric on-highway transport truck to haul copper concentrate between their Highland Valley Copper Operations in south-central BC and a rail loading facility located in Ashcroft, BC is being tested.
The company’s climate goal strategies include intensive carbon reduction in all its operations by as much as 33% by 2030 and becoming a net-zero operator by 2050.
Hydrogen-Powered Truck to Help Mining Industry Decarbonize Across Operations
In related news, a three-story tall massive hydrogen-powered truck is being tested by mining companies in the hopes of allowing the industry to decarbonize its operations.
Weighing 500 tons, this hydrogen-fueled truck will be the world’s largest and will provide a better alternative for mining haul trucks that greatly contribute to air pollution.
Data from the McKinsey consulting firm reported that mining contributes as much as 7% of the world’s total annual carbon emissions. Decarbonizing the industry’s operations has proven to be an exceptional challenge. The figure is more than double the amount of pollution from the global shipping industry which contributes about 3%.
David Gerhardt of First Mode said that out of the industry’s total carbon emissions, approximately 50% can be attributed to haulers which are typically used to transport massive rocks between sites.
Gerhardt said that their company aims to use their H2-fueled truck as a better alternative to traditional diesel-powered engines. First Mode started developing their H2-powered trucks in 2019 and has since developed the world’s largest mobile hydrogen power plant.
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Gerhardt, First Mode’s chief system engineer, said that their massive hydrogen-powered truck must be able to generate 2 megawatts of electricity per second in order to operate. This is like powering 1500 American homes. To achieve this feat, he said that the company had to look at the project differently.
“The scale of fuel cells that we were looking for didn’t exist on the market,” Gerhardt pointed out. Thus, they combined several smaller fuel cells in order to develop a 25-metric-ton onboard power plant. For comparison, he said that the power plant on the colossal truck weighs about the same as five elephants and powers a vehicle capable of transporting a load as heavy as about 100 elephants. “You can imagine the power that it takes to move 100 elephants up the hill at 15 kilometers an hour.”
The H2-powered truck started operating in South Africa in May. A mine owned by Anglo American, the Mogalakwena, was the first recipient of this truck.
First Mode’s CEO, Chris Voorhees said that the Anglo American partnership “has provided us a platform and an entry point into what is a very complicated environment, which is the mine operation itself.”
Voorhees also said that it would take more than just zero-emission hydrogen-powered vehicles in order to decarbonize the entire mining industry. He stressed that decarbonizing the industry must include everything – from how the raw materials were sourced to their manufacturing.
Nonetheless, taking into consideration how these traditional diesel-fueled haul trucks contribute to air pollution, employing hydrogen-fueled trucks can be a meaningful step as companies shift away from fossil fuels.
First Mode announced that their hydrogen truck was developed using green hydrogen. By opting to use environment-friendly hydrogen, the production process and the use of these vehicles is guaranteed to be free from carbon emissions.