The U.K. government has granted Danfoss Power Solutions almost $450,000 to accelerate the electrification of construction equipment. The grant was awarded by the United Kingdom’s Department for Business, Energy, and Skills as part of its Red Diesel Replacement competition, which aims to expedite the transition to electric off-road vehicles such as excavators and wheel loaders.
In order to greatly increase machine efficiency, Danfoss wants to combine electricity with its Digital Displacement technology, whereas many mobile machine companies appear to be focused on eliminating hydraulics in compact machinery. By reducing energy usage by up to 50%, the technology can drastically reduce the size of batteries required to power the devices as well as the quantity of energy required to charge them.
Danfoss is already building a £25 million state-of-the-art manufacturing, an R&D facility in Edinburgh, Scotland, to commercialize its Digital Displacement technology and Editron electric drivetrains, which it believes will change the construction machines market. The facility will be operational next year. It is expected that the new site in the United Kingdom will serve as a significant hub for Danfoss’s decarbonization projects and this award from the UK government will help Danfoss to meet its ambitions.
Furthermore, the International Energy Agency estimates that energy efficiency improvements can contribute 44% of the Paris climate commitments so Danfoss is focusing on this in the construction sector. As most heavy machines still utilise diesel engines, construction machinery emits about 400 megatons of carbon dioxide per year worldwide thus such plans can highly reduce CO2 emissions.
However, electrifying construction equipment is not easy for instance the daily power consumption of a huge excavator is nearly equal to the batteries required are the equivalent of up to ten standard electric car batteries, which might cost as much as the machine itself, so efficiency is the key here.
According to Danfoss’s study, the hydraulic system between the engine and the working functions wastes up to 70% of an excavator’s energy. Reducing this energy loss significantly allows future machines to employ much smaller, and thus cheaper, batteries. The computer-controlled Digital Displacement technology from Danfoss can greatly enhance system efficiency and minimize energy consumption. According to a study presented by Danfoss to the International Fluid Power Conference (IFK), one of the world’s largest scientific conferences on fluid power, Digital Displacement technology can currently provide a 24.8% lower capacity battery to complete eight hours of average operation.
This new grant will not just help Danfoss but will help the whole construction sector and will accelerate technological developments to reach about 50% improvement. With the Danfoss goal to make electric off-highway machines cheaper than diesel equivalents, this program will help them to bring costs down by combining better efficiency alongside electrification and enhance the adoption of electric off-highway machines worldwide.
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