HS2 trials ultra-low emission technology on construction sites

Posted: 10 December 2020 | | No comments yet

The OakTec Clean Air Gas Engine (CAGE) project trial has begun on HS2’s construction site near Euston station.


CAGE hybrid Advanté welfare system at HS2 Euston site

HS2 is trialling new ultra-clean generator technology developed by a collaboration of three UK technology companies.

By replacing diesel with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), the innovation is set to cut carbon, lower emissions, reduce noise and deliver major cost savings.

OakTec Power Ltd has collaborated with generator manufacturer, Sutton Power Engineering, and site welfare specialist, Advanté, to develop the low emission, off-grid, electricity generation solution into a welfare cabin specifically designed for the needs of HS2 construction and its maintenance contractors. It is a hybrid energy system which utilises battery energy storage with solar panels to boost charging.

The OakTec Clean Air Gas Engine (CAGE) project is funded by Innovate UK, with the three project partners supported by the UK government as part of the Clean Air Programme. The trial has just started on HS2’s construction site near Euston station, which is run by HS2’s enabling works contractor, Costain Skanska joint venture.

The system uses clean gas and biogas fuels as a replacement for the diesel machines that dominate the construction sector, with the aim of delivering breakthrough reductions of exhaust gas emissions and, over time, moving to full carbon neutral capability.

When available, Calor will deliver their new BioLPG product to the project. This non-fossil fuel renewable energy, which enables continuous running with no downtime needed for refuelling, significantly reduces the total carbon footprint compared to diesel systems and is currently cost competitive with red diesel. This creates the lowest CO2 impact, combined with a reduction in the total exhaust gas emissions achievable on this type of installation.

During the trial, exhaust emissions will be monitored by specialists from Imperial College London, with results expected to show massive improvements in air quality and welfare conditions for construction site workers, leading to positive public health and wider environmental benefits. The welfare cabin operates silently on stored energy and uses Advanté’s EcoLogic curfew technology to limit noise during unwanted hours, further reducing any negative impact on the user and local community.

HS2’s Director of Infrastructure, Chris Rayner, said: “HS2 is ramping up the introduction of brand-new technologies to dramatically cut carbon during construction, as we work towards supporting the government’s 2050 carbon zero target. We are delighted to be trialling this innovative off-grid solution, which aligns with HS2’s aim to introduce new technologies to reduce our carbon and environmental impacts across the whole project.”

Paul Andrews, OakTec’s CEO, stated: “The CAGE hybrid Advanté welfare system we have deployed on HS2’s construction site near Euston is our first step in a series of really exciting innovations that will take us to full carbon neutrality using clean engines powered by biogas fuels and hydrogen.”

This is the first of a series of gas engine innovations and emission reduction technologies OakTec are developing for this sector with the next step being the launch of a higher output multi-cylinder engine developed with support from a major OEM.

After the HS2 trials, the product will move forward to the production phase with further roll-out planned for the project and the wider industry.