Industry Requirements for Introduction of Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Range of Application

CIM Montreal 2007
Marcel Laflamme, Arnold Miller, David Barnes,
M.C. Bétournay, Marcel Laflamme, Gaetan Desrivières, Arnold Miller, David Barnes

Hydrogen fuel cells are a known and conventionally used technology, having been used in stationary and vehicle applications. Yet, converting conventional power sources, such as diesel internal combustion engines, to fuel cells for a major industrial operation or a mining company, represents a significant corporate decision and financial commitment.

There is currently a growing need to provide alternate power systems to diesel fuel for underground mining vehicles to improve underground air quality and reduce operating costs (through required ventilation reduction) and reduce green house gas emissions.

The mining industry requires that a number of aspects be defined and applications tested before the technology is considered for full introduction. The industry normally uses technologies that fulfill basic mine operating needs: low cost, dependability, ease of maintenance, long-term availability, fit within the context of underground mine extraction methods, meeting regulations , controllable risks, and relative straightforward use.

This article will discuss the range of aspects that need to be addressed for full hydrogen fuel cell technology introduction into the mining industry.

Focus will be given to the following aspects:

? company mine extraction strategy basis (minimum operating requirements and benefits of the technology to extraction);
? company philosophy for technology evolution acceptance and organizational change; issues and decision drivers
? status of technology and trends of fuel cell transportation and stationary power use
? results and technology introduction implications though application projects
? hydrogen production and delivery requirements; minesite infrastructure implications
? technology advance and availability of simple power systems
? other technology market drivers
? regulatory acceptance
? trade union and worker acceptance
? role of governments
? introduction timeline issues

Keywords: Mining technology introduction, Fuel cells, hydrogen
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