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MTI pioneers hydrogen injection, hybrids


Mining Technologies International (MTI) is pioneering two new technologies to power trucks, load-haul-dump (LHD) vehicles and other mine vehicles.

The Sudbury-based manufacturer of underground mining equipment is on the verge of commercializing a hydrogen injection system that improves diesel engine combustion, and is producing a hybrid-powered LHD in partnership with CANMET, the federal government’s mining research unit. Both technologies promise to dramatically reduce diesel emissions.

The hydrogen injection technology, developed by Hy-Drive Technologies Ltd. of Mississauga, Ontario, works by injecting small amounts of hydrogen gas into a diesel engine’s combustion chamber, resulting in a cleaner, faster burn, improved fuel efficiency and more engine torque.

It has been used successfully for several years in the trucking industry, but MTI is ruggedizing it to take account of the harsh operating conditions in the mining industry and has a memorandum of understanding with Hy-Drive for exclusive marketing rights in the mining industry.

“We think we’re on the threshold of commercializing the technology,” said MTI president Bob Lipic. “Once these tests are complete and we get the results we’re expecting, we’ll begin offering it to the mining industry as an option to conventional diesel engines.”

The hybrid-powered LHD being developed in conjunction with CANMET relies on a small diesel engine and a battery pack. The prototype is expected to be completed in September and is to be tested at CANMET’s experimental mine in Val d’Or, Quebec, later this year.

“The problem with electric powered vehicles in the past was that they had this umbilical cord that limited movement,” said Lipic. “This unit will be much more productive.”

Not only will it drastically reduce diesel emissions, but the hybrid engine also promises to provide more power in the muckpile, he said. The battery pack will provide power for six hours, but will be recharged as the vehicle travels on straightaways.

MTI will own and market the technology once CANMET completes its testing.

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