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Danfoss gets £4.9M grant to decarbonise diggers


UK Government grant will be used to validate Dextreme Max system in 30-ton electric excavator

Danfoss Scotland, part of the hydraulics and electric powertrain systems supplier Danfoss Power Solutions, has received a grant worth £4.9 million from the UK Government’s Department for Energy Security & Net Zero through the Red Diesel Replacement Phase 2 Competition.

The programme provides funding for projects developing low-carbon alternatives to red diesel for the construction, mining and quarrying sectors. 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 percent.

“Electrification offers a promising route to decarbonisation, but the immense power consumption of excavators means that expensive batteries and charging infrastructure are required. This cost is a major barrier to wider adoption of electric machines,” said Leif Bruhn, head of Digital Displacement, Danfoss Power Solutions.

“Excavators account for 50 percent of emissions from construction machinery, and hydraulic systems within excavators waste as much as 70 percent of the useful power delivered by the engine. 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 percent 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.

Danfoss will convert a 30-ton electric excavator at its Application Development Centre in Nordborg, Denmark, beginning in January 2024. The excavator will then be shipped to and operated at a quarry in the UK, with project completion planned for February 2025.

The project’s goals are to demonstrate that by improving excavator efficiency, the Dextreme Max system can: reduce battery capacity requirement from 3 packs to 2 packs; reduce electrical load on charging infrastructure; lower overall capital and operating expenses compared to baseline electric machine; lower total cost of ownership compared to diesel machine; and offer the same or better productivity and run-time than baseline machines.

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