IPG CEO Toby Gill explores how fuel-agnostic generators can help construction companies reduce their carbon footprint, without putting projects at risk, on Construction News.
Expanding renewable generation is the most significant step we can make towards reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. This is why, although there is always an ecological factor to consider when converting arable farmland to another purpose – an issue not to be underplayed - it is regrettable to see comments from new UK PM Liz Truss aimed at scaling back the deployment of new solar and onshore wind projects in these areas.
However, as crucial as it is to our wider net zero efforts, increasing the capacity of wind and solar generation will not directly help construction companies reduce their carbon footprint.
"Flexible solutions such as fuel-agnostic generators can offer a direct replacement for the diesel generator to enable companies to start reducing their carbon footprint, without putting their projects at risk."
Construction companies are increasingly seeking ways to install a temporary builders supply earlier in a project’s lifecycle and therefore benefit sooner from the greener energy on the grid. However, for sites with no access to the electricity grid or those with peak power requirements too large to be served by their grid connection alone, companies have no choice but to continue to turn to diesel generators, despite the best intentions to reduce the carbon emissions of this industry.
Across the construction sector, hydrogen and biofuel generators are being trialed to displace their diesel counterpart. The challenge that energy managers and sustainability leaders face when looking to scale these solutions across their business, however, is the operational risk that switching to greener fuel sources presents.
"Today, there isn’t sufficient green hydrogen or biofuel supply to displace the diesel used across a company’s entire project portfolio. So, at best, current technologies present a partial solution, but at worst they create greater potential for fuel supply disruptions and therefore risk to project timelines."
For project managers, switching from diesel to green hydrogen, for example, is to go from a solution with an almost-guaranteed fuel supply and energy security – a typical 1000 litre diesel bowser can buy weeks of operation from one delivery – to one with less reliable availability. Equivalently sized hydrogen storage could require deliveries as frequent as every 2-3 days, meaning, in complete contrast to diesel, not only is there more regular dependency on a limited supply chain, but limited onsite storage capabilities also increase the risk of power outages.
And today, we’re talking about powering canteens, cabins, drying rooms and a small number of battery-powered machinery – but what about the future where all plant machinery and employee vehicles need charging as well?
Flexible solutions such as fuel-agnostic generators can offer a direct replacement for the diesel generator to enable companies to start reducing their carbon footprint, without putting their projects at risk.
The above is an excerpt from IPG CEO Toby Gill's article "Wind and solar won’t help building sites to ditch diesel. But this will" published on Construction News, the leading provider of news, opinion, events and analysis for the UK construction industry. Read the full article here.