Swedish companies Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) and Skanska are turning the quarrying industry upside down in a groundbreaking study to create the world’s first ‘emission-free’ quarry.
Drawing on the electromobility and automation expertise of the Volvo Group, the research project, dubbed Electric Site, aims to electrify each transport stage in a quarry – from excavation to primary crushing, and transport to secondary crushing – although a negligible amount of diesel power will still be used. The system’s efficiency, safety and environmental benefits are set to impact both customers and society at large.
Volvo Construction Equipment and its customer Skanska have now begun testing the viability of its Electric Site concept.
The system, which incorporates electric and autonomous Volvo machines, will run in a real production environment for 10 weeks – delivering an anticipated 95% reduction in carbon emissions and 25% reduction in total cost of operations.
Volvo CE and Skanska began testing the Electric Site concept at Skanska’s Vikan Kross quarry near Gothenburg in Sweden, which produces aggregates for construction purposes as well as for asphalt and cement.
“This is the first time that anything like this has been attempted in the quarrying industry and, if successful, Electric Site could serve as a blueprint for transforming the efficiency, safety and environmental impact of quarries around the world,” said Gunnar Hagman, CEO of Skanska Sweden.
With Electric Site, Volvo CE and Skanska are challenging traditional ways of working in the quarrying industry. The project has involved developing new concept machines, work methods and site management systems which together, form a complete site solution. New technology encompasses machine and fleet control systems and logistic solutions for electric machines in quarries.
“We have had to completely rethink the way we work and how we look upon machine efficiency – pushing the boundaries of our competence,” said Melker Jernberg, president of Volvo CE. “The total site solution we developed together with our customer Skanska is not a commercial solution for sale today and we will evaluate the outcome of the tests but we have learnt so much already, elements of which will be fed into our future product development.”