Danfoss receives UK government grant money for experimental machine electrification

Danfoss excavator similar to the example which will be electrified Danfoss excavator similar to the example which will be electrified (Photo: Danfoss)

Danfoss Scotland, part of hydraulics and powertrain supplier Danfoss Power Solutions, has been awarded a grant worth £4.9 million (approximately $6.1 million) by the UK government’s Department for Energy Security & Net Zero through the Red Diesel Replacement Phase 2 competition.

Danfoss will use the funds to validate its Dextreme Max system in a 30-ton electric excavator, which it expects will reduce energy consumption by 50%.

The Red Diesel replacement programme provides funding for projects which look to develop low-carbon alternatives to red diesel for the construction, mining and quarrying sectors.

Before its withdrawal, so-called red diesel was fuel actually dyed red to identify it as a low-tax product. Distributed to construction firms, farmers and others, it was illegal to use the fuel in a private car or for personal use.

Commenting on the grant, Leif Bruhn, head of Digital Displacement, Danfoss Power Solutions, said: “Excavators account for 50% of emissions from construction machinery, and hydraulic systems within excavators waste as much as 70% of the useful power delivered by the engine.”

He continued: “By dramatically improving excavator energy efficiency, we can reduce the battery size and charging energy required to do the same amount of work. This will bring down costs, thus accelerating the transition to zero-carbon energy sources. The solution to a greener future in construction is efficiency. If we can prove it’s possible in excavators, we can conceivably accelerate the electrification of all large construction machinery.”

Danfoss’ Dextreme Max system is designed to cut excavator energy consumption by up to 50% by reducing energy losses and recovering energy that would otherwise be wasted.

An integral component of the Dextreme Max system is the DDP1x0D, a digital displacement hydraulic pump that enables energy recovery from excavator motions such as slew deceleration and boom lowering.

The energy recovery feature of the pump was developed as part of the Red Diesel Replacement Phase 1 competition. In Phase 2, Danfoss will integrate the DDP1x0D pump, an Editron electric drive, together with other components supporting the new system architecture.

The 30-ton electric excavator will be converted at the company’s Application Development Center in Nordborg, Denmark, starting in January 2024. The machine will then be moved to the UK for testing in an open quarry.

Primary goals include: reduction of battery packs from three to two units; reduce electrical load on charging infrastructure; lower capital expenditure compared to baseline machines; lower total cost of ownership; and offer the same (or better) productivity or run time than baseline machines.

Project completion is set for February 2025.

The Red Diesel Replacement competition is part of the £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, funded by the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero. The goal is to reduce the UK’s impact on climate change.

The £4.9 million grant represents about 65% of the project cost. The remainder will be funded by Danfoss.


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