Dual-fuel hydrogen piling rig trial a success for the HS2 project

Dual-fuel hydrogen piling rig trial a success for the HS2 project

May 8, 2023 0 By Erin Kilgore

The completion of the test is a world first.

Using a dual-fuel hydrogen piling rig, the High Speed 2 (HS2) project has completed the installation of four 30m deep piles on a London site, in a world first.

The piling rig was modified so it could operate using energy from hydrogen tanks.

The rig, a medium sized continuous flight auger (CFA) piling rig, was converted by hydrogen vehicle conversion company ULEMCo and Cementation Skanska. It was converted so that the rig’s machine component could operate by using energy from on-board H2 tanks.

The dual-fuel system allows for both diesel and biofuels (HVO) to be mixed with hydrogen. This displaces the fuel with hydrogen which lowers fuel use and reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Once converted, the hydrogen piling rig was brought onto the HS2 London site where it conducted a real-world trial, successfully completing piling work for the project. The real-world trial follows successful yard trials in 2022, at which time the technology was only simulated.

The success of the hydrogen piling rig trial could be a “game changer” for the construction sector.

“HS2 is continuing to drive a positive change in the construction sector and is providing an important environment to develop the real-world use of hydrogen energy technology,” said Andrea Davidson, HS2 Ltd head of environmental sciences.

Hydrogen piling rig - Image of a construction auger

“The development of dual-fuel systems that can be used to adapt existing equipment so it can run off cleaner, low carbon energy sources, could be a game changer across the construction sector.”

The hydrogen piling rig trial is part of one of several initiatives that the HS2 project has introduced as part of its commitment to decarbonize its construction sites, with a goal of achieving total diesel-free sites by 2029. Currently, 19 of its sites operate without diesel.

The project goes beyond piling.

hydrogen news ebookUsing the hydrogen piling rig in a real-world environment shows that the dual-fuel adaptation technology has potential to be applied more widely across the construction sector, further aiding in efforts to decarbonize plants and machinery.

“This project goes beyond piling and ground engineering,” said Terry Muckian, Cementation Skanska managing director. “It provides proof of concept for converting other types of heavy construction equipment, paving the way to construction site decarbonisation.”

ULEMCo and Cementation Skanska – both HS2 project partners – are currently considering how this technology could be used more broadly to lower embodied carbon in construction.

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