How one equipment hirer is lowering CO2

By Louise Carney01 October 2021

Flannery Plant Hire is well known for its focus on delivering the safest, most innovative, and sustainable, solutions to support its clients. Delivering a greener and cleaner legacy is something that, in the hirer’s opinion, all parts of the supply chain must take responsibility for.

In this article Flannery talks us through the sustainability changes it has incorporated into its own business, providing insight for UK construction sector companies looking to do the same.

In June 2020 when the Supply Chain Sustainability School launched its Plant Charter Flannery were a founding signatory, having been instrumental in the development and implementation of the school’s position on best practice sustainable procurement within the plant category.

A proactive member of the school since 2012, Flannery is extremely proud to be a Gold Member and an active member of the plant category group.

Flannery's Faresin electric telehandler Flannery’s Faresin electric telehandler

The focus on delivering greener solutions goes much further than just commitments on paper - with significant, focused investment playing a crucial role in delivering the greenest plant and equipment.

Eco-friendly construction equipment 

Flannery were the first UK buyer of the Faresin fully electric telehandler and Caterpillar’s D6XE - said to be the world’s first electric drive dozer - and continue to be the largest provider of hybrid excavators in the UK.

The hirer’s fleet also boasts the JCB electric mini excavator and is set to take delivery of the British manufacturer’s first electric telehandler.

These specific product investments are supported by the largest Stage V compliant fleet in the UK today with a considerable nine figure sum committed to CAPEX for this year.

While these products offer a green solution there is no getting away from their current limits.

Flannery's electric dozer from Cat Flannery’s D6XE electric dozer from Caterpillar
Heavy construction machinery: lowering CO2 emissions

Chris Matthew, Strategic Manager, Flannery Plant Hire, said, “At the smaller end of our fleet the advancements in battery technology mean we now have a number of viable alternative options for clients.

“The reality though is for heavy earthworks, and its associated larger equipment, the technology is either not commercially available or viable.

“The likelihood is that this sector will probably benefit from a multitude of technologies in the short/medium term which will include modern clean diesel machines alongside machines utilising synthetic fuels and hydrogen, and electric drive machines (powered by constant drive ICEs) and energy capture technology (hybrids).

He adds, “But while some of these technologies might be a few years away from commercial use, it is important to consider what we can do now.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions with HVO

“So we must continue to think differently – HVO fuels are proving to be an effective alternative and a fuel we are testing alongside our OEM partners and clients.”

Green Biofuels Green D+ Using HVO fuels such as Green D+ are one of the ways contractors can lower the CO2 emissions of heavy construction machinery. Click image to learn more about HVO fuels.

“HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oils) fuel delivers a sustainable option for many users of traditional diesel.

“This fuel reduces carbon output in excess of 93%, together with a reduction in NOx and particulate matter as well as a near-zero sulphur.

“Focusing on plant is an important part of us managing our Scope Two emissions, electric, hybrid and EU Stage V and IV engines all deliver excellent savings.”

Telematics and digitalisation in construction 

Chris continues: “There is, rightly, a huge focus on digitalisation in construction. GPS and machine control ensures we can dig once and move once. This means we are minimising fuel burn and emissions.

“Data, as with this example, is vital in our efforts to deliver greener solutions. We have invested heavily in our telematics platform, working alongside our partner MachineMax. Our consolidated dashboard allows our clients to achieve a complete view of their hire fleet, by project or product type.

“And to analyse idle time with burning emissions and make real time production management decisions.”

Effective telematics allows Flannery and their clients to take a holistic view, to be proactive in managing fleet mix, site design and operator behaviour.

Reducing emissions with operational changes and staff training

Flannery has also developed a specific ECO-Operator training module focused on best practice and behaviour, often utilising the hirer’s plant simulators.

The course will now be delivered from the Operator Skills Hub, a joint venture between Balfour Beatty and Flannery.

Matthew said, “As in any business it is important that we are also focusing on our Scope One emissions, we are ISO50001 accredited, are investing in solar panels and have a company vehicle fleet that is now more than 85% hybrid-electric.

“Our delivery fleet is also fully Euro 6 compliant. There is of course always more to do and new technology to support our goals.

“It is a hugely exciting time to be in construction and I am confident that working in collaboration with clients and the wider supply chain we will hit our net-zero goal.”

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