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With a focus of preventing global warming, a major problem for the world, the Hitachi Group’s Environmental Vision 2025 includes the goal of “helping to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 100 million tons by FY2025 through improved Hitachi products and services.” Having set its contribution to the reduction in CO2 emissions from machinery during operation by FY2025 in line with this target, the Hitachi Construction Machinery Group is striving to develop and expand Eco-Products.
The Hitachi Construction Machinery Group has adopted the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by machinery during operation 3.5 million tons annually compared to the reference year (FY2005) by FY2025. Improving fuel efficiency in our main products is an important issue in order to achieve that goal.
We have positioned reducing CO2 emissions from machinery during operation as the most important issue, and our top goal is to increase the energy efficiency of our products. Because of this goal, we have moved forward with various efforts; in particular, for our hydraulic excavators, our main product, we have improved fuel efficiency about 20% through two model changes for the ZAXIS-3 series, which went on sale in 2006, and the ZAXIS-5 series, which was introduced in 2013.
In 2014, we launched efforts to commercialize and introduce the ZAXIS-6 series as the newest model compliant with the latest Engine Emission Regulation (Tier 4 Final) in North America. Starting in FY2015, we will move forward with efforts to further improve fuel efficiency by fully introducing the newest models into markets and further reducing CO2 emissions from machinery during operation.
In addition, we are actively striving not only to improve fuel efficiency of standard machinery but also to improve and increase sales of hybrid construction machinery and electric/battery-powered construction machinery, and in FY2014, we developed the hybrid wheel loader ZW220HYB-5B.
On account of these efforts, we reduced CO2 emissions from our machinery during operation 2.36 million tons as of the end of FY2014. As for our goal of reducing emissions 3.5 million tons by the end of FY2025, we are examining revising upward our reduction target because it looks as if we will achieve the target before FY2020.
In order to achieve these new targets, we will contribute to preventing global warming by increasing the percentage of total sales accounted for by eco-products and raising the company’s presence in global markets.
Developing the hybrid wheel loader ZW220HYB-5B
As for the introduction of hybrid construction machinery, the use of hybrid hydraulic excavators is spreading, but we were unable to mass produce hybrid wheel loaders.
We started to research hybrid wheel loaders from early on and built up related technology. Using this technology as a foundation, we developed the hybrid wheel loader ZW220HYB-5B with the help of power electronics technology possessed by the Hitachi Group.
With the ZW220HYB-5B, we not only increased power transmission efficiency by introducing a hybrid drive system but also reduced energy loss for the hydraulic system and normalized power output during excavating operation, which made it possible to reduce fuel consumption up to 31%* compared to the traditional ZW220.
It is expected that a hybrid system that makes use of electronic technology will have various benefits, such as further increasing fuel efficiency through advances in battery technology and achieving zero-emissions through the use of a fuel cell for the engine. We are aiming to supply construction machinery that possesses greater energy efficiency through synergies with the Hitachi Group companies.
* Results of fuel consumption during operation test based on Hitachi Construction Machinery’s in-house evaluation standards.
Hybrid wheel loader ZW220HYB-5B
Achieving 500 hours of operation during trial operation using algae-based biofuels
Carbon-neutral biofuels are drawing attention as an alternative for fossil fuels, and among the biofuels, Hitachi Construction Machinery is focusing on biofuels derived from microalgae (algae-based biofuels), which can reduce reliance on fossil fuels without impacting the food supply. After comparing fuel properties for running diesel engines and the state of development of algae-based biofuels produced by more than 10 companies throughout the world, we selected the fuel produced by U.S.-based Solazyme, Inc.
For the operation test, we received the cooperation of Maeda Road Construction Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo), which is ardently working to resolve environmental problems through biofuels, and between September and November 2013, the test was conducted at Maeda Road Construction’s Koriyama Composite Materials Plant, located in Koriyama City, Fukushima. During the test, it was possible to operate a hybrid hydraulic excavator using 100% algae-based biofuels for 500 hours, a world’s first*.
A performance evaluation and disassembly evaluation conducted in March 2014 revealed that the same machine performance was obtained with algae-based biofuels as with diesel fuels and that there were no signs of engine deterioration even after 500 hours of operation. We will continue to conduct various researches on the use of fuels in construction machinery.
* As of April 11, 2014, research by Hitachi Construction Machinery
Hybrid hydraulic excavator ZH200 was used for the test. The operator from a partner company of Maeda Road Construction Co., Ltd., who was responsible for driving the vehicle, commented, “There is no loss in operability, and it provides the same power as the diesel version.”