Construction engine and equipment manufacturers, suppliers and renewable fuel producers are ready to help implement President Biden’s new infrastructure plan with the cleanest, most powerful, and efficient technology ever. Diesel powers most of the equipment used in the industry, which contributes nearly $850 billion dollars to the U.S. economy each year and about 6 million jobs.
The Diesel Technology Forum recently hosted a virtual event with industry leaders titled “Building for the future: Innovations in construction equipment to deliver next generation resilient infrastructure and clean energy projects.”
Panelists discussed the current state of construction equipment and strategies for boosting efficiency, as well as productivity, at jobsites which helps lower costs and reduces environmental impacts. They also explored the future of fuels, technology and high-tech practices including using autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence as is done in the mining sector.
“Equipment manufacturers are meeting a dynamic range of challenges from customers as well as society at large today, delivering more efficient, and near-zero emission, products right now,” said Diesel Technology Forum Executive Director Allen Schaeffer. “While diesel dominates most segments of the construction sector today, powering the largest machines, diesel is still evolving. And it will continue to do so in the future with even lower emissions and greater efficiency.”
Decarbonizing sectors like construction is already possible by expanding the use of low-carbon biodiesel fuels. More fuels and powertrain options are expected in the future.
“Innovation is kind of what we do. We’re looking forward to the next step for diesel We’re looking forward to alternate power, you know, whatever the market throws at us, right. We’re kind of preparing for all different angles. So, interesting space for the next decade,” said Jeremy Harsin, Cummins’ construction market director.
Ray Gallant, vice president of product management at Volvo Construction Equipment, said, “The [global warming] trends that we’re seeing are real. They continue to accelerate. That’s the world we live in. It’s a networked world so we’re not each going to solve it using a different solution, a different technology. It’s going to take all of us working together to figure this out and come up with a lot of different solutions and each play a part. And we’re excited about the future. It’s a good place to be in our industry.”
“There’s just no one fits all solution for the demands from our customers. So, in the industry we need to adjust the technology to meet the demands. And we think that it is going to be a parallel path of these technologies to meet those needs,” said Bosch’s Director of Diesel Systems Engineering Alex Freitag.
The panelists spoke of building additional partnerships throughout the industry to help solve the climate crisis.
“As we look at the construction industry, I think it is going to greatly benefit from all this work that we’re doing to seek a greener future. And I think that, really, the chase for zero emissions is going to revolutionize the industry in ways beyond what we can imagine, in a very positive way. So, I’m very excited about this journey,” said Fred Rio, construction digital & technology product manager with Caterpillar.
“It’s very innovative where we’re going, and customers are getting excited about coming along with us on this journey. At the same time, we recognize it is going to take some time to get there,” said Jon Gilbeck, global manager of construction equipment product marketing and planning with John Deere.
“At the end of the day we’ve got to deal with climate change. We’ve got to deliver significant CO2 reduction. The planet can’t wait for electrification, or hydrogen, or whatever the technical silver bullet is. Let’s take advantage of the solutions that are available today and continue to make technical advances,” urged Jon Scharingson, the executive director of strategic initiatives with Renewable Energy Group.
The Diesel Technology Forum, www.dieselforum.org