Adelan technology is powering the next generation of construction vehicles in a partnership with Calor and construction equipment OEMs and hire giants.
Published May 2022
Diesel could vanish from construction sites with a new collaborative project from fuel cell technology company Adelan. Working with the UK’s leading LPG supplier Calor Gas and major UK equipment hire chains, Adelan is aiming to deploy its unique microporous SOFC technology as an alternative to diesel-fuelled internal combustion engines.
Adelan’s mSOFC technology is hydrogen ready, but can just as easily use LPG or renewable hydrocarbons such as rDME and BioLPG. The goal of the partnership with Calor is to validate the fuel flexibility of mSOFC. It is proving the capability of fuel cells to replace diesel with a range of alternative fuels as the supply chain of green hydrogen scales up to meet new demand.
Given the construction sector is responsible for nearly a quarter of global carbon emissions, reducing the environmental impact of the sector is a crucial step on the road to net zero and the on-site use of fossil fuels like diesel is a key target.
Among a number of policy initiatives encouraging the transition to net-zero, UK tax breaks that supported the use of so-called red diesel in agricultural and construction vehicles were eliminated in April 2022. Given the soaring cost of diesel and with effective diesel subsidies a thing of the past, the construction sector has been looking for an alternative. UK technology innovations such as Adelan’s fuel cells are attracting significant market traction as a result.
“Fuel cell technology offers a really attractive solution as a diesel replacement for construction vehicles. Low-pollution, low-carbon, low-noise and efficient, fuel cells present a host of benefits while Adelan’s patented hydrogen ready technology allows equipment providers to be ready to take advantage of cleaner low-carbon fuels as they emerge,” explains Adelan CEO, Dr Michaela Kendall.
In addition to the use of fuel cells as a direct replacement for diesel engines, Adelan will also validate the potential for Calor’s rDME fuel to be used in its mSOFC equipment. Potentially carbon negative, rDME fuel is designed as a drop in alternative to bottled LPG. Successfully proving its application could have wider benefits for the clean energy transition by enabling Adelan’s technology to be deployed at scale immediately while using a clean fuel with a robust supply chain.
With funding from the £40m ‘Red Diesel Replacement’ competition backed by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the partners will initially deploy Adelan fuel cells in electrified construction platforms such as cherry pickers. This funding has been made available from the government’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP).
Commenting on the programme, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said: “As we accelerate the UK’s energy independence by boosting clean, home-grown, affordable energy, it’s crucial that our industries reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. This investment will help them to not only cut emissions, but also save money on energy bills, on top of supporting jobs by encouraging green innovation across in the UK.”
“By confirming the benefits of this British technology in the construction sector, this project is helping to establish a strong economic case to move away from fossil fuels and on to cleaner alternatives. The environmental argument is compelling, but considering the financial advantages too there is every good reason for the construction sector to banish diesel for good,” Dr Kendall concludes.
Read about the BEIS programme and the winning Adelante project here here.