As sustainability initiatives, new regulations and technological advancements open a world of possibilities for the utility industry, The Utility Expo will highlight alternative power throughout the show, held September 26 to 28 in Louisville, Kentucky.
With global initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, equipment manufacturers are exploring ways to reduce the carbon impact of their machines. A range of alternative power solutions are being considered, from replacing the diesel engine to reconfiguring the engine to run on alternative fuels to improving engine efficiency.
The utility industry is well on its way to lessening its carbon footprint with efficient diesel engines. Compared to Tier 1 engines, today’s Tier 4 Final engines offer a 96 per cent reduction of oxides of nitrogen as well as a 97 per cent reduction in particulate matter. The proposed Tier 5 emissions regulations will reduce emissions even more.
The gradual retirement of an aging fleet will also reduce emissions, especially considering the significant reduction in emissions that occurred between Tier 3 and Tier 4.
Modifying conventional engines allows them to burn alternative fuels, which doesn’t typically require widespread changes in jobsite practices, machine componentry or fuelling infrastructure. Manufacturers are also beginning to produce fuel-agnostic engines and explore the usage of various low-carbon fuels, including hydrogen, natural gas and ethanol.
Hydrogen can be used as both a low-carbon fuel and a fuel cell to charge a battery-electric machine. A clean and renewable source of high-density energy with good energy efficiency, manufacturers are working alongside the United States Department of Energy (DOE) in the early stages of hydrogen fuel cell implementation.
Much of the alternative power conversation has centered on electric, particularly in the compact and utility equipment industries. Commercially available electric machines feature varying degrees of electrification, offering zero emissions, less noise and instant response while delivering the same breakout force as a diesel-powered engine.
Battery power density continues to increase as manufacturers utilize technologies to make better use of battery energy.
The instant response of electric machines also correlates directly to real-time efficiency, minimizing idle time and reducing wear and tear on the machine. With fewer components and moving parts than internal combustion engines, electric machines typically require less overall maintenance, reducing downtime and operating expenses. As the reliability of these electric machines is validated in the market, the utility industry will begin to meet regulatory and societal pressures to reduce carbon emissions while seeing operational gains.
There won’t be one singular solution to reduce carbon emissions.
The utility industry will adopt a variety of alternative power solutions over the next handful of years. It all comes together at The Utility Expo.
The Utility Expo is the largest event for utility professionals and construction contractors seeking comprehensive insights into the latest industry technologies, innovations and trends