BAM adopts alternative power sources to displace diesel generators from construction sites

All projects across BAM need electricity to power their site compounds and accommodation therefore a generator or grid connection is a fundamental requirement. BAM Nuttall in the UK has been steadily adopting alternative forms of power generation across its projects.

Reducing emissions

As much as a third of our liquid fuel use has been attributed to on site power generation. So where grid power connections are not practical or cost effective, seeking alternatives to liquid fuel powered generators is a top priority to enable BAM to achieve its carbon reduction targets. A key objective of BAM’s Science Based Target on carbon reduction is to eliminate diesel generators entirely by 2030. Hybrid power generation provides a great alternative to power generation. The term hybrid implies that a combination of technologies is used. In the case of power generation these are typically, solar PV, batteries, wind and even hydrogen fuel cells. BAM Nuttall has employed a range of these hybrids and has realised significant emissions savings.

Facts and figures

Diesel generators come in a broad range of sizes. Typically a 60kVa generator would be deployed to power a small to medium sized site compound consuming in the region of 1,000 litres of fuel per week. Hybrid power generators can completely eliminate diesel use or substantially reduce it. In 2019, BAM Nuttall saved 4.6kt of direct carbon emissions associated with its fuel use by deploying hybrid power generation at 32 construction sites (including Hinkley Point, Hull River Defences, London City Airport and British Antarctic Survey). This equates to a financial saving of approximately £900,000. Currently BAM Nuttall is exploring options to use hydrogen fuel cell technologies for two major schemes: HS2 main works and Silvertown Tunnel in London.

Other benefits of emission-free power generation

Employing emissions free power generation also has a number of other benefits besides reducing carbon and costs. Diesel generations emit high levels of pollution to the local atmosphere, which have been proven to be hazardous to health. Also combustion engines are inherently noisy and so are a common cause of noise complaints from our local stakeholders in the areas we work. Hybrid and emissions free power generation therefore is a great way for BAM to substantially reduce emissions and improve the built environment.