After an 18 month pilot program operating the world’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered mine haul trucks, Alpha Coal West, Inc., has placed an order with GFS Corp to convert its entire fleet of Caterpillar 793’s at the Eagle Butte Mine, near Gillette, Wyoming, to the EVO-MT™ 7930 dual-fuel System.
In June 2012, Alpha Coal West, Inc., became [a claimed] first mining company to operate mining haul trucks using natural gas, having initiated a pilot program on three trucks in conjunction with GFS Corp, the maker of the EVO-MT™ conversion system. Late last year, the company converted a fourth truck. After a year and a half of daily operation and proof of concept, Alpha Coal West, Inc., has decided to move forward with the conversion of 12 additional trucks at Eagle Butte. GFS Corp will convert the balance of Alpha Coal West, Inc.’s, Caterpillar 793 fleet at its Eagle Butte Coal Mine to GFS’s NG+D™, natural gas plus diesel conversion system.
The 12-truck conversion will phase in over time with the last conversions scheduled for October 2014. Along with the truck conversions, Alpha Coal West, Inc., is installing permanent, full scale LNG fuel storage and dispensing infrastructure to replace the temporary solution used during the pilot.
“We are pleased that our pilot project with Alpha Coal West, Inc., has led to a commercial implementation our of EVO-MT™ System,” said Jason Green, GFS Corp’s President. “Alpha is to be commended for being the first mining company in the world to use LNG in haul truck operations. There has been a lot of talk about using LNG in mining operations, but Alpha Coal West is actually doing it and we are very proud that our NG+D™ technology is enabling their transition.”
GFS Corp currently offers conversion kits for the mechanical drive Caterpillar 777 and 793 as well as the electrical drive Komatsu 830 and 930. Conversions for other truck models are under development. All of the systems are available now and the company is taking orders for the limited quantity of 2014 delivery positions on all four of the systems.
GFS says trucks converted to a diesel + LNG operation exhibit diesel-like performance in such critical areas as power, response and efficiency. The EVO-MT™ System enables operators of mine haul trucks to substantially reduce operational costs and improve sustainability by substituting diesel fuel with lower cost, cleaner burning natural gas.