The energy innovation that’s changing the construction industry is good news for everyone
Around the globe, the heavy construction and quarrying industries are staple contributors to local economies. But whilst construction accounts for up to 13% of gross domestic product globally, it’s also a heavy energy consumer and highly carbon-intensive. Diesel-derived energy is still the predominant fuel. But this heavy reliance on diesel comes with its own pitfalls. And these are becoming of increasing concern to industry operators and observers.
For starters, diesel is expensive and prices are increasing consistently. Global circumstances and the upward trajectory of oil prices suggest that this will continue for the foreseeable future. In addition, diesel engines require more maintenance and supervision, particularly in dusty conditions. Keeping diesel engines and diesel-hydraulic powertrains operational requires constant supervision, regular maintenance stops and heavy expenditure on things like lubricants, replacement filters, hose connections and other consumables. All this downtime impacts productivity and drags down your operating profitability.
And then there is the emissions issue. The global construction industry is directly responsible for up to 39% of energy-related CO2 emissions across the planet. Reducing this is a critical goal if the world is to meet emissions targets and the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These aims are increasingly supported by governments and think tanks like the World Economic Forum.
However, an answer is not just on the horizon but actually available here in New Zealand.
Keestrack Zero – lower operating costs, zero fuel costs and zero CO2 emissions
Keestrack are a Belgium-based heavy construction and quarrying equipment manufacturer with a presence in 100 country markets. The company has a history of successful innovation, including introducing a revolutionary load-sensing hydraulics drive in 1999 that cut fuel costs by 30%. For a decade, Keestrack has been challenging the dominance of diesel energy. Early on, they recognised the significant operational advantages of electric drives for track-mounted mobile processing units with transport weights up to 60 tonnes.
In 2012 Keestrack debuted the first hybrid diesel-electric classifier, followed by the first hybrid scalper and the first hybrid crusher.More recently, they have released a range of hybrid machines that include the H4e cone crusher.
Now the company has released Keestrack Zero – a range of 100% emission-free track-mounted equipment where every machine can be operated from the electrical grid, or powered by an external generator.
The Zero range is Keestrack’s most ambitious and far-reaching innovation that will change both practice and expectations across the global construction industry. Included are jaw crushers, cone crushers, impact crushers, scalpers,classifiers and stackers. Rounding out the range are a series of mobile engine units.
What is an e-machine?
In the context of global heavy construction machinery,e-machines are those powered entirely using electrical energy. Power can be delivered in two ways: either via an external generator (which may be diesel-driven) or by being plugged in directly to the electrical grid. Direct connection to the grid is becoming an increasingly popular solution in Europe, and is fast becoming a key factor in winning large tenders.
Electrically-powered heavy equipment for construction and quarrying bring advantages that extend beyond the obvious cost savings on diesel fuel. Specifically:
- Electrically powered equipment employs less moving parts. This means it’s generally more dependable and reliable, with a longer operating life than diesel-hydraulic options.
- Because electric motors need far less maintenance they cost significantly less to operate.
- This includes eliminating the need for servicing to address things like blocked filters, oil and coolant change-outs, air filter replacement, burst hoses or blockages due to dust.
- Electric operating systems are much more efficient than diesel-hydraulic equivalents, and are not susceptible to the impacts of climate or operating conditions.
- Electrically powered equipment sidestep all of the tricky regulations and requirements around emissions. Around the world, new engine tier standards make specifying and providing equipment for sites more complex. Because they are 100% emission-free, electrical systems satisfy even the most stringent operating condition requirements.
- Plus given the fluctuation in diesel prices, electrically-powered units facilitate far more accurate job-cost forecasting, and remove the need to store or handle diesel fuel on-site
A game-changer with lower operating costs and higher productivity
In Norway and other Scandinavian countries, both the public and governments are concerned about the environment. Particularly when operating in urban surroundings, strong emphasis is placed on environmental protection and achieving a zero carbon footprint. This explains why Keestrack’s hybrid and fully electric plug-in machines are popular with construction and quarrying businesses across Scandinavia. Already in parts of Europe, achieving a low CO2 footprint and low to zero emissions are becoming decisive factors in tendering for public works. However the immediate advantages of Keestrack’s Zero range are the improvements brought to operating costs and productivity.
Compare the fuel savings (based on Keestrack R5 equivalent):
- Diesel-hydraulic drive consumes 55 litres per hour, costing $0.37 per tonne.
- Diesel-electric hybrid drive consumes 45 litres per hour, costing $0.27 per tonne.
- Keestrack Zero electric drive consumes 0 litres per hour, equating to $0.09 per tonne.
- Operating a Keestrack Zero R5 in place of a traditional diesel-hydraulic machine will bring you savings of $136,000 per year in fuel costs alone.
- Factor in reduced consumables and maintenance downtime and you save even more!
Plus higher productivity
- Zero range electric motors access more torque faster.
- Without the 25% energy drain experienced by diesel-hydraulic engines.
- A Keestrack Zero R5 machine is 10% more productive.
- Equating to an extra 285 tonnes of aggregate each day. And you get your money back.
- But lower operating costs including fuel savings, lower maintenance and consumables plus reduced servicing downtime save you $156,000 annually.
- So you recoup the extra purchase value in no time!
A major win for your brand reputation
A June 2021 white paper titled “Environmental challenges, opportunities and transitions for construction in Aotearoa-New Zealand” reported that 20% of NZ’s carbon footprint is linked to construction. Of even more concern, the samepaper reported that there had been a 66% increase in emissions from the construction industry over the past decade.
Operating a machine from the Keestrack Zero range is a major step in decarbonising the construction and quarrying industry. In addition to cutting diesel fuel consumption, a Keestrack Zero range R5 machine will result in a CO2 reduction of 156 tonnes per year.
Responding proactively to Environmental Social Governance (ESG) needs is now proven to make your business more attractive to investors domestically and internationally. According to international analyst Gartner, 85% of investors took ESG criteria into account with investment decisions in 2020.
Acting responsibly and in the long term interests of communities and the environment strongly advantages to your business. The benefits include enhanced brand reputation, a clear edge in tendering for high profile and publicly-funded projects, the ability to attract and keep toptalent, increased customer loyalty, improved access to capital and reduced compliance costs.
Equip2 will partner with you in meeting the challenge
As the New Zealand construction industry continues to grow and more and more large projects come on stream, operators of heavy equipment in quarrying and roading are faced with a clear choice: to persevere with the known factors that come with diesel-powered machines, knowing that this is seriously jeopardising the health of New Zealand’s landmass and reducing the likelihood that we will reach our emissions target. Or to take a stand and demonstrate that alongside business performance, you also prioritise the quality of the future we will bequeath to coming generations.
Within New Zealand, Equip2 are recognised as experts in the supply and support of mobile plant factories used in quarrying, contracting,mining, material recycling, demolition and agriculture. Talk to us about the new Keestrack Zero range, and we’ll tailor a projection of the actual savings a specific Keestrack Zero machine will bring to your operation. The outcome is something that will please all corners of your business, from the head of operations to the CFO and CEO.
To find out more about the new Keestrack Zero range of emission-free electrically-powered impact, cone and jaw crushers, contact us or call Jacob Hart on 0800 100 684.
Disclaimer: All data provided in this article correspond to experienced data and can vary according to actual application and according to the actual mineral properties. The material and information contained in this article is for general information purposes only. You should not rely upon this material of information as a basis for making any business,legal or any other decisions.