4 minutes read   25 Oct 2021

The road to Net Zero: can it pay to reduce idling time on site?

By Ross Hayward

Companies working in the quarrying and aggregates sector have a shared responsibility to address climate change as they collectively work towards meeting the Government’s ambitious net zero targets by 2050. As such, Chepstow Plant International (CPI) is constantly looking at ways it can drive down fuel and operating costs for its clients, but also improve the efficiency and environmental impact of vehicles on-site, as it strives to meet its own net zero sustainability targets.

In this blog, Ross Hayward, Head of Assets and Commercial at CPI, explains why reducing idling time on site has a tangible part to play in helping the industry reach net zero.He also highlights just some of the emerging technologies that could further help companies looking to reduce their environmental impact for the long-term.

Battling excess CO2

“Did you know that 10 dump trucks idling for just 30 minutes a day can produce 200 tonnes of excess CO2 each year? That’s the equivalent of just under 50 average vehicle emissions for an entire year. Multiply the idling number across a raft of fleet and sites where assets are simply idling around the globe on a daily basis, and the excess CO2 figure can quickly escalate to astronomical levels. And that’s just in our sector.

“Not only is this sobering thought, it’s also a harsh reality that we all need to address. Companies need to commit now to reducing pollution levels and take control. However, success is dependent on many factors.

Time to make tangible changes

“At CPI, we’re committed to showing companies how they can make tangible changes to their daily working practices and reach net zero. One such way is by reducing idling time on site; it’s not a quick win but the impact can certainly make a difference.

“How? For a start, reduced idle time results in fewer asset hours per year, meaning less servicing and its associated environmental impact with less filters, oils etc. Furthermore, less idle and improved production performance results in improved tonnes carried per litres burnt for every one hour worked. Above all, it leads to a reduction in CO2 emissions, other pollutants and overall fuel costs on site.

“Naturally, the larger your fleet, the larger reducing idling impact will be. Let’s take a bulldozer as an example. By reducing your idling time by 50%, you could potentially cut out 10-15 tonnes of CO2 a year. Across a fleet of 30 bulldozers, you’re approaching almost 400 tonnes a year. A lot of time and investment goes into understanding what and where the idling problems are and finding ways to achieve this. Therefore, when running a large fleet of mobile plant, it’s essential to view this as a project across all areas – it cannot just be a one machine, one site focus.

“Reducing idling time successfully will be the result of endless meetings, deep diving into all aspects of data – production, operator behaviour and component performance. There’s then KPI setting and ensuring you’ve got the right number of machines on site to deliver a job. Crucially, training operators to become more environmentally conscious is key - and if you’re training an operator to idle less, you’ll naturally train them to burn less fuel (but that’s a different part of the cycle).

Other initiatives driving Net Zero

“Of course, reducing idling time isn’t a cure for all ills when it comes to reaching net zero; it should be viewed as just one of many ways to deliver against a company’s decarbonisation agenda.

“In our efforts to help companies meet the Government’s net zero targets, we’re constantly reviewing, trialling and investing in the latest technological advances to ensure that we’re ahead of the game. This includes investing in vehicle telematics, 5G remote-controlled machinery, alternative fuels, electric-based assets, autonomous dumptrucks and cloud-based monitoring and analytical tools, We’ve also been trialling heat maps in quarries to identify where assets might be surplus on site or pinch-points across the haul routes.

“And as we strive towards helping our partners reach net zero, we’re now running an HVO trial to see how that could revolutionise our approach in further driving sustainability, so watch this space as we share more on this in the coming months.”

By Ross Hayward

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