Sustainable Solutions to Plant Fleet
Climate change has a visible impact; rainfall patterns have altered, sea levels are ascending, and the world is warming. It’s clear that unless we radically decrease our direct contribution to climate change and play our part in confining global warming, we will all experience dramatic changes in our lives.
Our business is invested in driving down its plant’s carbon footprint and ensuring that our efforts to reduce these emissions improve year on year.
CARBON EMISSIONS – MODERNISING OUR FLEET
Over the past few years, we have been working on carbon-saving initiatives to ensure we continue to modernise our plant fleet, take advantage of advancing hybrid technologies and explore alternative technologies as they develop. Through thorough market assessment, we are adding only the best in the market kit to maximise our and our customer’s CO2 carbon savings.
We have reduced our plant’s carbon footprint, initially with ultra-low emissions excavators and more recently with hybrid machines, such as the hybrid Kobelco 210 Hybrid Excavators.
Some of our hybrid fleet includes an ultra-low emissions diesel engine connected to an electric motor/generator, allowing the battery to be charged during low-load parts of the digging or loading cycle.
Transitioning to an entire fleet of hybrid kit will be an incremental process due to the monumental size of our fleet. In the interim, we have added a system called Fuel Active into the existing plant fleet fuel tanks.
The Fuel Active System is a floating suction system that takes the diesel from the top of the tank instead of the bottom. This component prevents dirt and water from being sucked into the fuel system and means the engine doesn’t have to work as hard.
By fitting these to each machine, the fuel usage saving is approx. 1-2 litres an hour, this may not sound like a great deal, but it makes dramatic reductions when you consider the size of our hire plant fleet.
Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil
HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) Renewable Diesel is a premium fossil-free diesel made from raw materials which don’t release any new carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It’s made by the hydrotreatment of vegetable oils and/or animal fats, and the result is a premium quality fuel with a chemical structure almost identical to regular diesel. It can, therefore, fully replace fossil diesel.
As well as fueling our plant, HVO would be ideal for our HGV fleet. Our HGVs are all under two years old, and have the latest Stage 5 compliant engines, already the cleanest on the market, which means they can accept HVO fuel without any conversion.
The issue with this fuel is supply! We are currently investing time to realise a solution where costs and supply make HVO fuel a viable long-term fuel strategy.
If we can get a workable solution, HVO fuel could enable us to quickly ramp up the already significant H2O savings our fleet is producing.
Due to the demand of our high-power heavy plant equipment, a complete electric solution isn’t practical. The excessive weight and cost of the battery, along with the long charging times and the need to have charging facilities in the remotest of infrastructure locations, just isn’t achievable right now.
Hydrogen motors use similar technology to existing propulsion systems. As a result, they are robust, cost-effective and can be integrated into all forms of heavy plant by simply replacing the existing diesel engine with hydrogen powertrains.
We are currently exploring this solution and the benefits of incorporating Hydrogen Powertrains into our fleet.
Running electric vehicles on-site can be highly challenging, especially as getting a site connected to the grid can take a while. To make this work, construction teams need to make early grid connections. This will be something to watch in the future as the construction sector ramp up CO2 initiatives in an aim to be carbon neutral by 2050.
As well as introducing initiatives to reduce our hire plant fleets carbon footprint, for every tonne of carbon from our own operations that we emit and that we cannot avoid, we are looking to invest in a project within the UK or overseas that is reducing carbon emissions by the same amount. With this in place, we can say that we are a carbon-neutral business.