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TOMORROW’S CONSTRUCTION MACHINES, TOMORROW’S POWER ALTERNATIVES

At the heart of any construction alternative power discussion is … diesel.

Diesel is the go-to power on jobsites – according to the Diesel Technology Forum, 98% of construction’s energy use in the U.S. comes from diesel.

But with intense global initiatives to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, the press is on for construction industry manufacturers to find ways to lessen diesel’s carbon impact. A range of solutions is being considered: replacing the diesel engine altogether, reconfiguring the engine to run on lower-carbon fuels and making the diesel engine as efficient as possible.

All will be needed.

The challenges are many. Unlike some sectors, construction doesn’t rely on a core piece of equipment, but rather on a vast fleet that ranges from mini excavators to massive off-highway trucks. And a jobsite can be anywhere from midtown Manhattan to rural Wyoming. Which is why so many diesel alternatives are being offered, including electric, hydrogen, biodiesel and other biofuels. And, over the next decade or so, one (or more) of these alternatives will establish themselves as having the greatest long-term potential. 

“What’s coming? The answer is probably all of them,” said Jeremy Harsin, construction market director at Cummins. “The combination of duty cycle and available infrastructure is going to decide what wins out, but they’re probably all going to have their place in the world.”

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