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The goal of the ELMAR project, with a volume of around 11 million euros, is to integrate and demonstrate the use of electric heavy-duty transport machines in the domestic raw materials industry. Funded by the be Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), the project is being implemented by a top-class consortium of industrial and research partners.

Aachen/Wildau, 30 September 2022.
There is no question: a secure supply of mineral raw materials is elementary for the competitiveness and prosperity of Germany and Europe. At the same time, the extraction of raw materials is a significant emitter of CO2 and must therefore transform itself and become more sustainable in order to contribute to the achievement of climate goals and to remain competitive and sustainable. This includes, in particular, the decarbonisation of companies that extract raw materials. In Germany, this affects around 1,600 companies with around 2,700 plants and 23,500 employees in gravel, sand and natural stone production industry alone.

Use of autonomous, electric transport machines

Up to now, a significant part of the energy used in the extraction of raw materials in these companies has been used for internal transport. This is mostly achieved by mobile diesel-powered ( heavy-load ) vehicles. Conversion to (battery) electric operation is therefore an important lever for reducing emissions. This applies to the conversion of existing operations as well as to future projects.

In the newly launched “ELMAR” project, a consortium of top-class research and industry partners is developing how the decarbonisation of domestic raw material extraction can be holistically thought through and implemented. The project involves the integration of autonomous electric heavy-duty transport machines, the associated adaptation of the necessary infrastructure and the redesign of operational processes. Furthermore, in this transformation, the coupling and optimisation between the energy demand side and the energy supply side is implemented in a connected, model-based and intelligent operation planning and control system.

Projektpartner während des ELMAR-Projekt-Kick-Offs bei der Besichtigung des Gewinnungsbetriebes der Nivelsteiner Sandwerke & Sandsteinbrüche GmbH. (Foto: Martin Braun)

Drones for surveillance and documentation

The task of TITUS Research will be, on the one hand, to use a drone to check the paths in the quarry for possible obstacles or hazardous situations. In addition, TITUS will be responsible for inspecting the electrical supply infrastructure and other relevant operating facilities, also using a highly automated drone. Last but not least, drone images will be used to document changes over time in the quarrying area.

Holistic approach enables optimisation of operating concepts

“‘ELMAR’ lays an important foundation for the integration of electric, automated mobile heavy load transport machines in raw material extraction,” says Dr Tobias Hartmann from the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies at RWTH Aachen University. “While maintaining process reliability in extraction and at the same time ensuring electrical supply security, as well as coupling it to renewable energy sources, we want to demonstrate in representative use cases that electrical transport is possible in domestic raw material extraction. The holistic approach from the production to the energy demand to the energy supply side will enable us to optimise existing and upcoming operational concepts.”

High-Profile project partners

The consortium is composed of two institutes of RWTH Aachen University, the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT) and the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (ISEA), and representatives from industry partners. From the industrial side, Volvo Group Trucks Central Europe GmbH, Volvo Construction Equipment Germany GmbH, Volvo Autonomous Solutions AB (commissioned by VCE Germany GmbH) are participating as construction machinery and transport vehicle manufacturers and automation providers, Mineral Baustoffe GmbH (part of the STRABAG Group), Knauf Gips KG, Nivelsteiner Sandwerke & Sandsteinbrüche GmbH as mine operators, PSI Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme GmbH and PSI Software AG as providers of AI- and cloud-based software and TITUS Research GmbH as developers of autonomous monitoring systems.

 

About the project

The ELMAR project (FKZ 01MV22001*) runs from 01.08.2022 to 31.07.2025 and is funded by the BMWK under the funding guideline “Research and development in the field of electromobility” in the 5th funding call “Competition for electrified goods and passenger transport” with around 6 million euros out of a total volume of around 11 million euros.