Kier has held a UK-first trial of a technology to support its strategy delivering net zero carbon emissions.

Through its work with procurement partner, Sunbelt Rentals, it is using PUNCH Flybrid flywheel technology on its Shakespeare North site, to assess if the innovation could reduce the energy required to power a static crane.

The innovation is derived from a similar technology used in Formula 1 and is a flywheel energy storage system which decreases fuel usage by reducing the generator size needed to power the crane on site, while still providing enough power for it to be used correctly.

The main objectives of the trial were carbon savings and a reduction in pollutants, as well as providing social value benefits to the surrounding community, including reduced air pollution and less traffic movements and congestion. The trial showed that the fuel consumption was reduced by 40%, which also resulted in 40% less carbon being produced.

Gary Wintersgill, managing director at Kier Regional Building North & Scotland, said: “At Kier, we are passionate about becoming a more sustainable business and an important element of this is working collaboratively with our supply chain partners to trial brand-new innovative technologies. We are continuing to use the PUNCH Flybrid flywheel technology on the Shakespeare North site and are assessing other sites that could also benefit from it.”

Mark Bown, national account manager at Sunbelt Rental, said: “Sunbelt Rentals and Kier have been working together in partnership to reduce CO2 impact and provide social value to local communities of Kier sites. This technology is a large step in the right direction to move towards net zero carbon.”

Tobias Knichel, managing director at PUNCH Flybrid, said: “Deploying a single flywheel system with this tower crane removes the equivalent emissions of 17 road cars from our city centres. I applaud Kier and Sunbelt Rentals for being the very first innovators to operate the flywheel energy storage system on a live construction site. Such forward thinking leadership deserves the very positive results achieved during this trial.”

Kier launched its brand-new sustainability framework, Building for a Sustainable World, in October 2020. The framework focuses on both environmental and social sustainability and as part of this, it has committed to achieving net zero carbon across its own operations and supply chain by 2045.

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