For years, companies have relied on heavy machinery - almost all of which burns gas and diesel - to expose ore, minerals, and other materials from beneath the earth's surface and turn it into usable components.
One company, Kuhn Schweiz AG, has found a way to do at least part of that work completely emissions-free, together with researchers from the Bern University of Applied Sciences in Bern, Switzerland and the NTB Interstate University of Technology in Buchs, Switzerland.
Enter, the "eDumper" a 121-ton electric dump truck that can consume less energy than it produces in certain situations.
The green machine, in both eco-friendliness and paint scheme, entered service in April in Péry, Switzerland.
The eDumper began life as a traditional, gas-guzzling dump truck, and the transformation was no small feat. Here's a human for size comparison.
Fully loaded, it can transport 65 tons of mined rock downhill from the mountain. As it descends, its regenerative braking generates electricity.
Because it's unloaded at the bottom, and then drives back up the hill weighing less than the downhill run, the eDumper uses less electricity than it produces, according to the researchers behind the project.
In addition to being the world's largest electric vehicle, researchers also broke the record for the world's largest battery, which weighs 4.5 tons
Those massive batteries power a new motor, which replaced the dump truck's original diesel engine.
Eventually, all the component parts were assembled into the truck
And in April, the eDumper was revealed to the world
The eDumper is expected to move some 300,000 tons of rock every year for the next decade. The researchers estimate that will save "up to 1,300 tons of CO2 and 500,000 liters of diesel " over 10 years.