ENGINEERING group Danfoss Scotland has secured multi-million pound grant funding to accelerate the decarbonisation of excavators. 

The UK Government’s Department for Energy Security & Net Zero awarded the firm nearly £5 million through its red diesel replacement competition, which seeks to speed up the transition to electric vehicles.

Danfoss will use the funds to validate its Dextreme Max system in a 30-tonne electric excavator, which it expects will reduce energy consumption by 50 per cent. 

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Leif Bruhn, head of digital displacement, Danfoss Power Solutions, said: “Electrification offers a promising route to decarbonisation, but the immense power consumption of excavators means that expensive batteries and charging infrastructure are required. 

"This cost is a major barrier to wider adoption of electric machines.

“Excavators account for 50 per cent of emissions from construction machinery, and hydraulic systems within excavators waste as much as 70 per cent of the useful power delivered by the engine. 

"By dramatically improving excavator energy efficiency, we can reduce the battery size and charging energy required to do the same amount of work.

"This will bring down costs, thus accelerating the transition to zero-carbon energy sources." 

Danfoss plans to convert a 30-tonne electric excavator at its Application Development Centre in Nordborg, Denmark, beginning in January 2024. The excavator will then be shipped to the UK, with project completion planned for February 2025. 

Forestry Journal:

The project’s goals are to demonstrate that by improving excavator efficiency, the Dextreme Max system can:

  • Reduce battery capacity requirement from three packs to two packs
  • Reduce electrical load on charging infrastructure 
  • Lower overall capital and operating expenses compared to baseline electric machine
  • Lower total cost of ownership compared to diesel machine
  • Offer the same or better productivity and run time than baseline machines

Jeff Herrin, senior vice president of research, development, and engineering at Danfoss Power Solutions, said: "This project is an incredible opportunity to prove the efficacy of a new system solution and architecture, demonstrating that large-scale innovation is still possible in hydraulics.

"We’re grateful to the UK Government for its support."