Construction & Temporary Power

Construction & Temporary Power

The construction industry currently accounts for circa 38% of global energy related emissions, many of which are produced by diesel-driven equipment. Whilst nobody expects these to disappear overnight, momentum is building to replace diesel engines through legislation.

This included the UK Government’s decision in 2020 that the sector can no longer use ‘red diesel’ from April 2022.  In making his announcement in his 2020 budget statement in the House of Commons, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak described its use as “a £2.4bn tax break for pollution that’s also hindered the development of cleaner alternatives”.

At the same point, major construction companies are increasingly emphasising their greener credentials, with one emphasising that their difference is “combining a ‘can do’ attitude with a willingness to explore new technologies”.  The first carbon targets are now being put in place by major UK companies ahead of any direct central government legislation being introduced, with construction companies such as Costain planning to be net-zero carbon by 2035 at the latest and developers such as British Land aiming to be net zero carbon by 2030.

Other companies internationally have gone further; our partner ACCIONA for example has been a carbon-neutral company since 2016 as a result of its long-standing commitment to climate change mitigation. We anticipate a greater number of construction companies setting zero or lower-carbon targets in the near-term.

Our portfolio of technologies can be used alongside diesel generators in a progressive and incremental manner to reduce and ultimately eliminate emissions. Such an approach provides a compelling case to regulators that a logical and phased emissions reduction strategy is proceeding. Furthermore, our EV charging solution can be used to charge the new range of electric drive construction equipment.

Several construction companies have previously tried small PEM fuel cells with mixed results, predominantly due to higher operating costs due to the dependence on hydrogen rather than ammonia as a fuel; despite this experience, the willingness to try new technology to reduce emissions remains in place. Our partnership with ACCIONA provides a clear example of this; the publicity generated from our Dunsfold to Dundee roadshow resulted in the company contacting us to see whether our alkaline technology could provide a better solution compared to PEM technology.

Initial desk top studies have confirmed that our fuel cell is more cost competitive than the existing PEM solutions and that our pricing and operating expenditure represents a fair and necessary premium if emissions targets are to be met.  Further information on our ACCIONA partnership can be found here.