Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Auckland breaks new ground with electric digger

Auckland Council’s Healthy Waters stormwater team is trialling an electric digger as part of its maintenance operations in what it says is a first for the southern hemisphere.

Auckland Council’s Head of Sustainable Outcomes, Tom Mansell says one of the biggest sources of emissions from stormwater maintenance and capital works programmes is CO2 from diesel trucks and diggers.

“These emissions are classified as Scope 3 emissions for Auckland Council. This means we don’t create the emissions ourselves rather they are created by suppliers we engage in our supply chain, but it still counts as part of our overall carbon footprint,” said Mr Mansell.

“Reducing Scope 3 emissions can be a complex challenge as they are outside our direct control, however, as a department with significant purchasing power, we can take a proactive approach to collaborating with our contractors to identify opportunities to reduce emissions.”

Fulton Hogan is trialling the electric digger on some of Auckland Council’s maintenance projects excavating soil, removing debris, clearing blockages and repairing pipework in the stormwater network damaged by the floods.

Fulton Hogan’s Stormwater Operations Manager, Mark Haywood says the digger is a no-brainer from an environmental perspective.

“Apart from the CO2 reduction achieved in comparison to a diesel engine, the digger has demonstrated the capacity to mitigate noise and air pollution,” he said.

“There are so many benefits to an electric digger; it is silent on the job which makes for easy on-site communication, and it is perfect for night work and where there are noise restrictions.”

Council says initial trials are proving the machine has comparable power to a diesel engine and suggest it will be ideal for tunnelling due to its ability to manoeuvre in tight spaces and without generating air pollution.

Its ability to handle different soil types, depths, and density is currently still being tested. Additionally, the battery life is still being evaluated to assess its capability to sustain operations throughout a standard workday without frequent recharging, Council said.

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