Danfoss awarded UK government grant to decarbonise construction machinery

Danfoss Power Solutions has secured a £407,112 government grant to accelerate the electrification of construction machinery through the Red Diesel Replacement competition.


Danfoss said it will significantly improve machine efficiency by combining electrification with its Digital Displacement technology. Reducing energy consumption by as much as 50 per cent, the technology can decrease the size of batteries needed to power machines and the amount of energy needed to charge them.

A £25m manufacturing, research, and development facility in Edinburgh is being constructed for Danfoss to commercialise Digital Displacement technology and Editron electric drivetrains, which it believes will transform the construction machinery sector. Dubbed the Decarbonisation Hub, the facility will become operational next year.

In a statement Niall Caldwell, senior director of R&D, Digital Displacement, Danfoss Power Solutions said: “The International Energy Agency says that 44 per cent of the Paris climate commitments can come from energy efficiency improvements, and Danfoss is taking on this challenge in the area of construction machinery. The majority of large machines still use diesel engines, and we calculate that, worldwide, construction machinery emits around 400 megatons of carbon dioxide annually.”

Caldwell continued: “Electrifying construction equipment is not straightforward. For a large excavator, the daily power consumption is so high, the batteries required are the equivalent to as many as 10 typical electric car batteries, which could cost as much as the machine itself. The key, we believe, is efficiency.”


Danfoss said its research has shown that as much as 70 per cent of an excavator’s energy is wasted in the hydraulic system between the engine and the working functions. Computer-controlled Digital Displacement technology can ‘significantly improve’ system efficiency and reduce energy use, the company said.

A paper Danfoss submitted to the International Fluid Power Conference shows that Digital Displacement technology can already deliver a 24.8 per cent lower capacity battery to complete eight hours of typical operation.

“This new grant will accelerate technological developments to reach 50 per cent improvement,” said Leif Bruhn, head of Digital Displacement, Danfoss Power Solutions. “Our goal is to make electric off-highway machines cheaper to own and run than diesel equivalents. This program will allow us to prove that combining better efficiency alongside electrification is the most effective way to bring down cost, improve performance, and hasten the adoption of electric off-highway machines worldwide.”