Click here to see the database for Zero Emission Construction Machinery
Click here to read our report Zero Emission Construction Sites: Status 2019
“There is not enough electric construction machinery available on the market” and “We
don’t have enough information on available electric construction equipment”.
These are reoccurring responses we hear from cities or other relevant project coordinators on why they are not deploying emission-free machinery for construction projects. According to our research and newly released database however, there is an electric alternative for 7 different types of machines, complemented by microgrids and portable batteries to support the electric revolution. This equipment is being offered by 18 distinct manufacturers including Nasta, Volvo Construction, Hyundai Construction Machinery to name a few.*
The often underestimated but alarming polluting impact of conventional construction
machinery has kick started our work in 2015 on decarbonising construction activities on
the site. Construction sites emit a high amount of greenhouse gas emissions and
contribute to growing air and noise pollution. Our work on reducing emissions from
construction sites quickly led us to understand that conventional construction equipment
needs to be replaced with emission free alternatives. Just like for the road transport
sector, transitioning to electric alternatives is the best option to decarbonise the
Even though there is already a good selection of products available on the market
today, it seems like potential buyers are not informed well enough about the availability
and the specifications of electric construction equipment. This is why Bellona has taken
up the task of developing a database which combines all the available electric
construction machinery and the equipment which can help eliminate emissions and
reduce noise from the site.
Manufacturers have succeeded in electrifying different sized excavators, wheel
loaders, drilling rigs, cement trucks, dumpers and other small construction
equipment which contributes to the decarbonisation on the site. The following list shows
the machinery we found was developed at this stage**:
18 Small Excavators
6 Standard Excavators
5 Wheel Loaders
2 Vibratory Plates
2 Slew & Track Drives
1 Cement Mixer
1 Backhoe Loader
1 Drilling Rig
and other smaller equipment
Thanks to these advances in the market sector regarding zero emission construction machinery, contractors now have the opportunity to make an active choice for construction equipment which neither harms the surrounding environment nor the local community while still doing the job. For the market there is only room to grow. This means that the responsibility for moving closer to a decarbonised construction sector now lies in the hands of EU Policy and cities.
One way through which public authorities can incentivise market innovation of zero emission products is by financially rewarding
sustainable, innovative projects. Another tool public authorities can use is public procurement. This way, cities can act as big buyers and set sustainability criteria in public tenders which the market has to comply with when developing construction equipment. To ensure maximal usage, the respective city can for instance buy the developed machines to then use or rent out for future projects. Oslo is the first city to show how to move towards zero emission construction by procuring the needed machinery. Advanced procurement policies and strict environmental standards for the evaluation of contractors have paved the way for Oslo initiating the world’s first zero emission construction site in 2019. The city has also set a target that by 2025 all public construction sites will only operate zero emission construction machinery and zero emission transport of materials and workers to the site.
Bellona’s vision is that zero emission construction sites operated by electric machinery
to become the norm. Given the speed with which some cities are moving certainly
proves the feasibility and the potential for knowledge and strategies – especially
procurement wise – to be transmitted from one city to another.
*All manufacturers are: Bobcat, Bonifiogli, Hyundai Construction Equipment, Instagrid, JCB, Kobelco, Komatsu, Kubota, Liebherr, NASTA, Pon Cat, Schäffer, Takeuchi, Tangent, Volvo, Wacker Neuson.
*Bellona is well aware that mistakes could have been made or that not all available electric machinery and equipment have been listed. Please contact us if you have any comments or have information about other machinery and/or equipment.
Daniela De Lorenzo (Communication Manager)
Irini Vafiadis (Junior Policy Advisor)