TECH-Talk: See where diesel beats electric

Wednesday 13 Nov 2019

British-based multinational company JCB shares its insights into the trends associated with the introduction of innovative electric technology - JCB indicates that for large scale excavators, electric power is quite simply too costly both financially and environmentally. It would cost £160,000 for a lithium-ion battery large enough to power a 20-tonne excavator for an eight-hour shift - not to mention the vast amount of carbon-dioxide produced in the battery's manufacturing process.

Diesel, on the other hand, contains more energy than petrol, natural gas, a variety of battery types and many other fuels or power sources. In fact, by mass, diesel contains around 54 times more energy than current lithium-ion batteries. Diesel is safe to use and can be delivered to site easily - even in remote locations. Finally, with their high torque nature and robustness, diesel engines are perfectly suited to heavy duty applications, including use in construction equipment.

Given these benefits, it is a major concern that the basic power systems the majority of our industry's machines use - diesel engines - are in danger of being caught in the collateral damage caused largely by the automotive sector diesel scandals.

Cutting exposure to air pollutants and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is something JCB take very seriously and, just as innovation has been at the heart of their first fully electric models, it has also been integral to their clean diesel engine development too. JCB is aware that creating cleaner machines starts with creating cleaner engines. As stricter legislation drives innovation, that innovation drives technological revolution and provides a genuine opportunity to differentiate from competitors.

For Stage V, the next phase of emissions legislation, JCB is using Particulate Control Technology to meet requirements but has once again sought an alternative to bolting on a DPF. The next generation particulate technology is more than just a particulate filter. It combines a low emissions combustion system with catalysts and filters, all managed by a sophisticated engine and after-treatment control system. This ensures the exhaust emissions are minimised over a wide range of operating conditions. It's completely integrated, highly reliable, highly effective and invisible to the customer. This latest generation of engines have almost eradicated harmful emissions. NOx is down 97% and soot particulates are down by 98%. Beyond that, JCB’s clean diesel technology has helped deliver a 43 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions from JCB machines by improving fuel efficiency, saving 2.5 billion litres of diesel.

Source: JCB - A British multinational corporation, with headquarters in Rocester, UK, manufactures equipment for construction, agriculture, waste handling and demolition.

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