Everything we do at OAC is in aspiration for better outcomes, processes, and solutions. We believe better is always possible–specifically in our mission to improve where people live, learn, work, and play. In pursuit of this mission, we are proud to be working alongside First Mode to achieve their goal of eliminating diesel in heavy industry around the world. Helping others create positive change is part of our commitment to fulfilling this mission and moving towards a more sustainable future.

What’s the Project?

After a successful deployment of a proof-of-concept hybrid hydrogen and battery-powered haul truck at an Anglo-American mine in South Africa, First Mode is scaling its operations, including the establishment of the First Mode Proving Grounds in Centralia, WA. First Mode engaged OAC to use our expert project management skills and industry relationships for the build-out of office and hydrogen storage space where the First Mode team will receive ultra-class haul trucks.

At the First Mode Proving Grounds, the global decarbonization company will test performance and improve on the next generation of zero-emission mining haul trucks. The location at the TransAlta Centralia mine allows First Mode to better evaluate equipment operations in a true mining environment The local community also has a history of operating such heavy equipment, and First Mode will be able to draw from this expertise.

Local partnerships are everything. OAC and First Mode are thrilled to work closely with Lewis County to make better happen in their community. In First Mode’s October 2022 announcement, First Mode Principal Mechanical Engineer Aaron Ison said, “we are incredibly grateful to be working alongside local contractors and trades, including the staff at TransAlta, as we build out the First Mode Proving Grounds. The extensive knowledge and experience within the Centralia community are already well established, and our local partnerships will be critical to the success of our current and future work.”

A Deeper Connection

It’s potentially a planet-changing endeavor, but to OAC it’s also much bigger than that. Our history with the project’s site goes way back.

Dan Chandler, recently retired OAC Senior VP and remaining Board Member, grew up in Centralia and spent a few of his summers working in the mine. His father, Dwight Chandler, helped open the Centralia Coal Mine in 1971 as a general superintendent. With a mining engineering degree from the University of Idaho, Dwight helped lead mining operations until his retirement in 1993. Dan says, “The ultra-class haul trucks First Mode is converting to hydrogen fuel cells is a big move for this industry and potentially others.” This project is especially close to OAC, and we’re excited to see it make an impact on the surrounding communities!

Better Sustainability, Better Outcomes

When it comes to sustainability, the time to take action is now. We’re inspired by First Mode and eager to see this impressive and impactful project come to fruition. Keep up with their efforts here and learn more about how they plan to change the world.

To learn more on OAC’s efforts towards building a more sustainable future, check out our most recent articles here.

Image Courtesy of Anglo American and First Mode