Hybrid Electrification: Basic training
As construction equipment owners seek lower operating costs, lower emissions and better returns on their machine investments, hybrid technologies like electrification are rapidly progressing from theory to reality.
But the terms used to describe this technology are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion. And with so much information in the marketplace, determining the right match of technology to application can be difficult.
“While manufacturers are moving as quickly as possible to get these new technologies to market, contractors will likely need clarification of the benefits of each in various machines before they can determine the value each solution brings to their businesses,” said Joe Mastanduno, product marketing manager for engines and drivetrains at John Deere Construction & Forestry.
“As new products hit the market, it is very important that contractors understand how each technology applied in different machines will provide different levels of benefits and payback.”
It’s helpful to start with a basic vocabulary lesson to realistically break down the technologies, their best applications and the potential payback.
Hybrid electrification technology in construction equipment simply means two sources of energy, such as diesel and electricity – with energy being created, transferred or stored. Think of “hybrid” as an umbrella term over subcategories like electric traction, auxiliary or ancillary electrification, energy management and integrated/starter alternators.
With electric traction, the engine drives a generator to create electricity used by an electric motor or motors to drive tracks or wheels. This is in the market today with large mining trucks.
“Electric drive is a future just waiting to happen,” said Mike Vorster, professor emeritus of construction engineering at Virginia Tech. “Thanks to research there’s going to be mega-levels of reliability with motors, drives and computer controls in handling of high-voltage current, and the diesel engine will be able to stick to the basic job it does best.”
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