Manufacturing Technology Centre works on project to make construction sites diesel free

Engineers from the Manufacturing Technology Centre are working with four major transport organisations on a project aimed at removing diesel from construction sites, which will drastically cut carbon emissions.

Experts at the MTC have teamed up with High Speed 2 (HS2), Network Rail, National Highways and Transport for London to examine ways of achieving net zero construction sites, in line with Government strategy.

Cutting carbon emissions associated with the development and operation of the transport network is a key strategic objective of the Department for Transport (DfT). Construction and its associated processes are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

The DfT-supported Diesel Free Construction Sites project will bring together a community of interested bodies including contractors, technology providers and governing bodies to agree and drive a programme for diesel-free construction sites within the transport network.

Project manager at the MTC, Jade Myall said the construction sector was responsible for nearly a quarter of the world’s CO2 emissions, with around 5.5 per cent of this coming directly from activities on construction sites, mainly due to machinery and equipment powered by fossil fuels.

“This project will establish a pathway to delivering a significant portion of the participating organisations’ carbon and greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. More importantly, it could also open doors for the wider adoption of clean energy beyond the construction sector,” she said.

She added: “Zero-carbon economic growth is at the heart of the MTC’s business strategy and we are working with our industrial and academic partners to deliver significant positive contributions to this target. The MTC’s blend of appropriate specialist technical expertise and in-depth business insight ensures it is well-equipped to deliver this project.”

There are many activities happening among the project partners. In May this year HS2 announced its first completely diesel-free site at the Canterbury Road vent shaft site in South Kilburn. HS2’s civils contractor, Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture, introduced a range of diesel free technologies and greener equipment. This included biofuels to power plant and machinery, an electric compressor, access to mains power on a 100 per cent renewable tariff and the use of the UK’s first 160-tonne emissions-free fully-electric crawler cranes.

This project, aimed at contributing to achieving net zero construction, is the result of discussions at a workshop at the MTC earlier this year with the partner organisations and the Department for Transport, identifying the challenges thrown up by net zero.

The project team will look at ways to build on the work the partners have already done in the field and will develop and support a future strategy to implement innovation and best practice into the mainstream.

The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.

The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.

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