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Industry sees bottom-up push for sustainability


A sustainable heavy industry is increasingly customer-driven, albeit facilitated by clear policy, and the Construction & Mining Equipment Industry Group sees Australia paving its own way on the journey to net zero by 2050.

The Construction & Mining Equipment Industry Group (CMEIG) has an open dialogue with the Federal Government to develop a world where off-road vehicles contribute net zero carbon emissions.

CMEIG chairman Dean Gaedtke described Australia’s take on the journey to net zero.

“Europe and the US have been pushing forward with legislation, with a big step-change accompanying the introduction of Tier 3 standards nearly two decades ago now,” Gaedtke said.

“Some markets are now up to Tier 5, but we have taken a different approach in Australia and even without that same legislative framework, customers are pushing OEMs to go faster and faster on lower emission technology. They want electric machines, they want hydrogen fuels,” Gaedtke said.

CMEIG chairman Dean Gaedtke is confident there will be high horsepower electric engines in earthmoving products by 2050.

“Australians have always been early adopters. Our industry is hungry for the latest technology. Australian resellers and distributors are always working hard to get the voice of our customers into the factories.”

Of course, the technology isn’t quite up to scratch and 10-to-12-hour high powered shifts can’t be completed on one battery pack.

But with a bottom-up push for sustainability, Gaedtke said the heavy industry could rid itself of the internal combustion engine within 30 years.

“It’s not a stretch to say we could well have high horsepower electric machinery by 2050,” he said.

“There are lots of possibilities already being tested, including hybrid diesel electrics, which will be the mid-way step.

“We’re also already seeing concept machines with hydrogen fuel cells, trolley-assist electric power already exists for electric dump trucks and could well be expanded, and we’re seeing energy capture where, for example, the lowering weight of overhead cranes is being used to generate electricity.”

Gaedtke said the CMEIG will do all it can to facilitate an easy transition into the age of sustainable construction.

“Because we don’t have clear regulatory guidelines, we find OEMs are producing all kinds of machines for our market – a mix of different tiers,” he said.

“And that makes it difficult for factories to plan, and difficult to focus on specific strategic directions. The knock-on effect is huge as we have to almost guess what to stock.

“We’re excited to work closely with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to help create a transition plan that will help get the industry where it needs to be.”

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