ELMAR project: On the way to a net-zero mine

  Group picture Copyright: © Martin Braun

The urgency of decarbonizing the mining industry is becoming increasingly clear, with diesel-powered vehicles accounting for between 30-80% of direct emissions. Switching to electric-powered mobile equipment is an attractive option to achieve decarbonization.

To support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the transition to electrification and decarbonization, the ELMAR project was launched in 2022. Two institutes at RWTH Aachen University are involved - the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT) and the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (ISEA). The project is supported by leading mine operators, technology providers and scientists.

The autonomization of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will enable the use of smaller BEVs, which are more energy efficient and better suited for electrification. Dr. Tobias Hartmann of the AMT at RWTH Aachen University and coordinator of the ELMAR project explains, "We will adapt the transport concept in the factories instead of installing batteries in existing machines." In addition, options for integrating renewable energy sources will be included in the mine redesign. Data-driven modeling approaches are an important part of the planning process.

This coupling of energy and data, and its integration into the process, makes the ELMAR project unique and a potential milestone in advancing electrification and decarbonization in the mining sector.

Demonstrations of automated BEVs on brownfield sites throughout Germany are planned as the project progresses. The lessons learned will result in a transformation concept for decisions around the transition to BEVs, along with recommendations for small- to medium-sized mine sites that will also be adapted for a greenfield project.

For more information, visit: www.amt.rwth-aachen.de/en/elmar.html