OPINION: When will electrification contribute to decarbonisation?


As the electrification of the construction market gathers pace, with major manufacturers like Volvo, Caterpillar, JCB and more introducing electric alternatives to traditionally diesel-powered construction equipment, organisations like Concentric – which has a long history of supporting OEM customers within the industry through technologically advanced, robust and reliable solutions – will play an increasingly significant role. Martin Kunz, president and CEO of Concentric ABconsiders what can be done to advance the cause 


Electrifying construction vehicles: a perspective

Manufacturers of construction equipment are facing a complex challenge: they need to curb emissions as well as reduce dependency on diesel fuel as quickly as possible.

According to independent market research company IDTechEx, the decarbonisation of the global construction industry will be instrumental in countries meeting their 2015 Paris Agreement commitments. And it’s here that the electrification of construction vehicles will help to achieve these environmental targets.

Electrification is being led by smaller, more compact machines, for example mini-excavators, small wheel loaders and dump trucks. This is largely because these machines are deployed in urban environments, and cities are increasingly looking to lower exhaust emissions and noise, with electric construction equipment having the added benefit of low-noise zone compliance.

In addition, because they are being used in smaller projects, the daily duty cycle  – and accordingly power demand – of smaller machinery is lower than for larger machines. Thus, a standard eight-hour workday for the smaller pieces of equipment can be met with a practical size of Li-ion battery (less than 50kWh) and electric motor (less than 20kW).

And while this in itself is good news for the sector, it is even more encouraging that heavier construction machines, which contribute significantly more to the sector’s CO2 emissions, are also starting to embrace lower-emission solutions. The question is: Why?

McKinsey says that Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) may well be a major driver, predicting that by 2023, the TCO of heavy electrified machinery could be up to 21 percent lower than that of similar internal combustion engine (ICE) equipment. This is driven by a 40 to 60 percent lower operating cost reduction, thanks to reduced fuel consumption, and a simpler drive-train with fewer moving parts, requiring less maintenance.

The role of electric power sources

As pressure mounts for construction firms to adopt more efficient solutions, so too will the requirement for machinery manufacturers to include electric pump (e-pump) technology in hybrid or fully electric machines.

In line with this, Concentric has developed a range of electric pump solutions to assist with building reliability, fuel economy, control, and emission reduction improvements.

Developed for the cooling of hybrid and electric vehicle batteries and power electronics, the e-pump has been designed to meet the challenges of heavy-duty commercial vehicles, including installation vibrations, and dust and water resistance.

Concentric has a mature range of electric products, including both pumps and fans, providing durable, powerful yet efficient and space-saving solutions for customers in this market and is currently developing products that enable the use of high voltage supply, further increasing the value offered to customers.

With its global footprint and extensive industry experience in conventional pumps, Concentric is currently in conversation with several leading blue-chip OEMs within the construction industry to support their electrification journeys, deploying a number of pilot projects.

By way of example, Concentric recently received a new development contract to supply high voltage electric coolant pumps for a battery electric mining machine. The customer, a global construction OEM, will use the e-pumps for cooling the batteries and power electronics on a large, fully electric mining machine.

Battery electric powertrains will be one of the key technology enablers for zero emissions from off-highway machines, and this new agreement is another innovation milestone in the development of Concentric’s e-pumps.

As a leader and innovator in flow control and fluid power, Concentric is working towards a sustainable and carbon neutral future, continuing to invest in technology that can deliver on the rapidly evolving needs of the market, and actively supporting organisations in their electrification process.

Listed on the NASDAQ OMX Stockholm exchange, Concentric AB is an innovator in flow control and fluid power, supplying proprietary systems and components to the world’s truck, agricultural machinery, construction equipment and industrial applications end-markets. The company has a global manufacturing presence including in the UK, USA, Germany, Sweden, India and China. Concentric’s focus is to develop world class technology with innovative solutions that meet the sustainability needs of its customers. The Group acquired Engineered Machined Products, Inc. (EMP), a leading US producer of electric and mechanical water and oil pumps, electric fans, thermal management systems and precision machined components, in 2021, strengthening Concentric’s capabilities in electrical products including electrical fans, e-oil and e-water pumps.

Media contact – Lynne McCarthy – lynne.mccarthy@concentricab.com

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