HS2 now has 10 diesel-free construction sites, exceeding the project’s original target of one diesel-free site in 2022. Earlier in 2022, the Canterbury Road Vent Shaft in South Kilburn, managed by Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture (SCS JV), became HS2’s first diesel-free site. Also managed by SCS, the Euston Approaches and Victoria Road Crossover Box sites have achieved diesel-free status.

Align – a joint venture formed of Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine, and VolkerFitzpatrick, have also announced that seven of their 14 sites are now diesel-free. These include five vent shaft sites along the route of the 10 mile Chiltern tunnels in Buckinghamshire, and two sites involved in the construction of the Colne Valley Viaduct.

After achieving the first diesel-free site on the HS2 project in May, SCS JV aim to be fully diesel-free by the end of 2023 using a combination of mains electricity, fully electric machines, renewable energy and biofuels.

Their first site – Canterbury Road Vent Shaft in South Kilburn, is connected to mains electricity on a 100% renewable energy tariff. This powers one of the UK’s first 160 tonne emissions-free fully electric crawler crane, as well as other electric plant such as electric compressors, with the rest of the machinery using sustainably sourced biofuels (HVO) as a direct replacement for diesel.

At HS2’s Euston Approaches, also managed by SCS JV, the world’s first all-electric, high-capacity BAUER drilling rig cuts 1,200kg of CO2 per day and reduces noise by 50%, bringing massive environmental benefits and adding momentum to HS2’s ambition to cut carbon and reduce impacts to surrounding residents.

In addition, one of the tower cranes in the Euston Area has been fitted with the PUNCH Flybrid ‘flywheel’ energy recovery system, which stores and kinetic energy to use when needed to downscale peak energy demand and therefore cut energy consumption. This technology recently won the award for the Carbon Net Zero Initiative of the Year and the overall Initiative of the Year Awards at the British Construction Industry Awards.

SCS’s third diesel-free site, Victoria Road Crossover Box has a mains electricity connection, is deploying electric equipment and making use of sustainably sourced biofuels (HVO). The site recently successfully completed trials for two GeoPura 250kVA hydrogen power units (HPUs) – cutting carbon and improving air quality for workers and the local community.

James Richardson, Managing Director of SCS JV said:

“We are proud to be pioneers of diesel-free construction, and we are committed to seeking out and adopting new technology and ways of working to eliminate diesel on construction sites. This all starts with a shift in mindset and a belief that our industry can have a cleaner, greener future.”

As well as seven of Align’s 14 sites becoming diesel-free, their 136 acres (80 football pitches) Chiltern Tunnels South Portal, HS2’s largest construction site, is also well on its way to becoming 100% diesel-free next year. On the site, over 120 pieces of plant including dumpers, tractors, excavators, pumps and crushers are all operating using sustainably sourced biofuels (HVO).

In addition, there’s a range of fully electric plant such as telehandlers and excavators, renewable energy sources such as solar, and site safety gates powered by hydrogen, all reducing carbon impacts and improving local air quality.