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One of Liebherr’s R 9400 excavators has been successfully converted from diesel to electric in a milestone partnership with Fortescue.

Fortescue commissioned the machine at its Christmas Creek iron ore mine in WA.

The move marks the first time that Liebherr has repowered one of its excavators during the standard service life of the machine.

A Fortescue-designed and developed hydrogen offboard power unit will be used to power the R 9400 E and is currently undergoing site-based testing within Fortescue’s zero emission testing area at Christmas Creek.

“Liebherr is delighted that Fortescue has chosen to collaborate with Liebherr in our joint efforts to accelerate the pathway to a mining future without fossil fuels,” Liebherr Mining executive vice president R&D, engineering and manufacturing Oliver Weiss said.

“This repower project demonstrates that decarbonisation is also possible with Liebherr machines previously supplied with diesel engines.

“The modular design of Liebherr equipment makes it possible to repower existing diesel excavators to new zero emission configurations, such as electric powertrains.

“This means that the diesel equipment customers buy today is also future-proofed for many years to come. The fact that we can ease the transition from traditional to decarbonised mining fleets for our customers is one of the key strategies of the Liebherr Zero Emission Mining Program.”