HomeHigh Speed RailHS2 smashes carbon target

HS2 smashes carbon target

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Earlier this year, the Canterbury Road Vent Shaft in South Kilburn, managed by Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture (SCS JV), became HS2’s first diesel-free site. Now the SCS-managed Euston Approaches and Victoria Road Crossover Box sites have also achieved diesel-free status.

Align – a joint venture formed of Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine, and VolkerFitzpatrick – has also announced that seven of its 14 sites are now diesel-free. These include five vent shaft sites along the route of the 10-mile Chiltern tunnels in Buckinghamshire, and two sites involved in the construction of the Colne Valley Viaduct.

After achieving the first diesel-free site on the HS2 project in May, SCS JV aims to be fully diesel-free by the end of 2023 using a combination of mains electricity, fully electric machines, renewable energy, and biofuels.

Its first site – Canterbury Road Vent Shaft in South Kilburn, is connected to mains electricity on a 100% renewable energy tariff. This powers one of the UK’s first 160 tonne emissions-free fully electric crawler crane, as well as other electric plant such as electric compressors, with the rest of the machinery using sustainably sourced biofuels (HVO) as a direct replacement for diesel.

At HS2’s Euston Approaches, also managed by SCS JV, the world’s first all-electric, high-capacity BAUER drilling rig cuts 1,200kg of CO2 per day adding momentum to HS2’s carbon-cutting ambitions.

SCS’s third diesel-free site, Victoria Road Crossover Box has a mains electricity connection, is deploying electric equipment, and is making use of sustainably sourced biofuels (HVO). The site recently successfully completed trials for two GeoPura 250kVA hydrogen power units (HPUs) – cutting carbon and improving air quality for workers and the local community.

James Richardson, managing director of SCS JV said: “We are proud to be pioneers of diesel-free construction, and we are committed to seeking out and adopting new technology and ways of working to eliminate diesel on construction sites. This all starts with a shift in mindset and a belief that our industry can have a cleaner, greener future.”

Along with seven of Align’s 14 sites becoming diesel-free, its 136 acre Chiltern Tunnels South Portal – HS2’s largest construction site – is also well on its way to becoming 100% diesel-free next year. On that site, over 120 pieces of plant including dumpers, tractors, excavators, pumps and crushers are all operating using HVO.

In addition, there’s a range of fully electric plant such as telehandlers and excavators, renewable energy sources such as solar, and site safety gates powered by hydrogen, all reducing carbon impacts and improving local air quality.

“Our strategy is to move to diesel-free operations across all of our construction sites, so we’re thrilled to say that half of our sites are now diesel-free,” said Adetunji Lawal, Align JV’s Carbon and Energy Manager.

“In addition, on our extensive Chiltern Tunnel South Portal site, all of the earthworks activities that represent 70% of our fuel consumption are now 100% diesel free. We estimate that Align will be able to deliver carbon savings that equate to 80,000 tonnes by the end of the project, supporting HS2’s zero carbon ambitions.”

To explain how the project will continue its mission to achieve 100% diesel-free construction sites by 2029, HS2 has published its ‘Diesel-free Plan: Building a net zero future’. It details HS2’s journey to diesel-free construction sites and a new ratings system which ranks all sites from diamond to bronze, so progress can be mapped over the next few years.

“Our ambitious goal is to eliminate diesel on all HS2 construction sites by 2029,” said Andrea Davidson, HS2 Ltd’s Head of Environmental Sciences. “One of the first targets in our Net Zero Carbon Plan was to achieve one diesel-free site during 2022, so we’re thrilled to see 10 sites already reaching this major milestone supported through the hard work from our on-site teams.

“Our ‘Diesel-free Plan: Building a net zero future’ explains how we will reach our goal by improving efficiencies, switching to cleaner fuels, using renewable power such as solar, using the latest cleanest and fully-electric machinery, and continuing to collaborate with the wider industry to set new standards and push the boundaries of green innovation.”

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