In its bid to cut carbon and focus on improving local air quality, HS2 is trialing new ultra-clean generator technology developed by a collaboration of three UK technology companies. OakTec Power Ltd has collaborated with generator manufacturer Sutton Power Engineering and site welfare specialist Advanté to develop the low emission, off-grid, electricity generation solution into a welfare cabin specifically designed for the needs of HS2 construction and its maintenance contractors. It is a hybrid energy system which utilises battery energy storage with solar panels to boost charging. By replacing diesel with LPG, the innovation is set to cut carbon, lower emissions, reduce noise and deliver major cost savings.

The OakTec Clean Air Gas Engine (CAGE) project is funded by Innovate UK, with the three project partners supported by the UK government as part of the Clean Air Programme. The trial has just started on HS2’s construction site near Euston station run by HS2’s enabling works contractor Costain Skanska joint venture.

The system uses clean gas and biogas fuels as a replacement for the diesel machines that dominate the construction sector, with the aim of delivering breakthrough reductions of exhaust gas emissions and over time moving to full carbon neutral capability.

When available, Calor will deliver their new BioLPG product to the project. This non-fossil fuel renewable energy, which enables continuous running with no downtime needed for refueling, significantly reduces the total carbon footprint compared to diesel systems and is currently cost competitive with red diesel. This creates the lowest CO2 impact combined with a game-changing reduction in the total exhaust gas emissions achievable on this type of installation.

During the trial, exhaust emissions will be monitored by specialists from Imperial College London, with results expected to show massive improvements in air quality and welfare conditions for construction site workers, leading to positive public health and wider environmental benefits. The welfare cabin operates silently on stored energy and uses Advanté’s EcoLogic curfew technology to limit noise during unwanted hours, further reducing any negative impact on the user and local community.