Alternative power for construction projects
Emission reduction targets, such as the 2030 climate and energy framework in Europe, which sets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent and the UK Government 2050 target, which aims to reduce its emissions by at least 80 percent, represent an appropriate contribution to global emission reduction. However, more has to be done to meet these stretching targets.
Emissions within the construction industry
In the UK, over half of its emissions are accounted for by the construction industry alone. As a result, reduction of CO2 and NOx emissions have become a key consideration for main contractors. When considering reducing emissions in this sector, all too often the focus is on the sustainability of the actual building components, with not enough focus on the products used to enable the build. Temporary power, for example, is an important contribution to the overall emissions footprint of a construction project, particularly where there is a requirement for 24-hour power.
Reducing CO2 and costs with hybrid power
Running diesel generators is expensive, yet despite this they are still typically used to supply 24-hour power; in the UK, this includes high daytime loads and low overnight loads. Although high daytime loads are necessary to carry out the building work, low loads overnight – for security and lighting for example – result in large amounts of fuel being burnt unnecessarily, making the generator inefficient. If we compare this to France, generators are turned off overnight, yet they are still used during the day even when low loads are required. What’s more, diesel generators always consume a baseline of fuel even if they are delivering no power.
Ultimately, the constant use of diesel generators regardless of the load requirement, makes them more costly than they need to be, along with producing unnecessary CO2 and NOx emissions. In addition, running diesel generators at very low loads can damage and ultimately reduce the life of the generator.
SafeAI attracts $21m funding as SmartMix AI tool launches
SafeAI is driving the transformation of the mining and construction industries through connected, autonomous sites. With chronic labour shortages, unsafe working conditions and frequent project delays, these industries are in a unique position to benefit from autonomy.
Unlike on-road applications of the technology, autonomous heavy equipment operates in controlled environments, which means companies can create smarter, safer, more productive project sites today that create meaningful, near-term impact.
“We are at a tipping point for autonomous heavy equipment,” said Bibhrajit Halder, founder and CEO at SafeAI. “We’ve proven that autonomy makes work sites significantly safer and more productive; now, we are on the cusp of mass adoption. Together with our valued partners, customers and investors, we’re poised to deploy autonomy in off-road industries like construction and mining, at scale, to rethink the way heavy industry operates.”
Heavy industry is a large, growing global market, ripe for disruption. The construction equipment market alone is valued at $140 billion, and expected to increase to $175 billion by 2025; construction-related spending accounts for a staggering 13% of global GDP, or $11.5 trillion.
But there remains significant room for growth; in construction alone, higher productivity could create an estimated $1.6 trillion in additional value. With just 25% of the infrastructure needed by 2050 in existence today, autonomy can bridge this productivity gap with greater efficiency and 24/7 operations. SafeAI is at the forefront of this transformation.
“There’s a tremendous amount of excitement in the autonomy space today; but it’s clear the biggest opportunity for this technology is off-road,” said Mark Blackwell, General Partner at Builders VC. “With its industry-leading autonomous software, scalable retrofit approach and partner ecosystem, SafeAI is uniquely poised to capitalize on this opportunity. We’re proud to support the company in its next chapter of growth as demand for autonomous heavy equipment continues to skyrocket.”
New investors LTC, DG Ventures, MACA and Vimson Group, and existing investors Autotech Ventures, Brick and Mortar Ventures, Embark Ventures, Monta Vista Capital and Obayashi Corporation, also participated in the round. The funding comes on the heels of a year of rapid growth for SafeAI, including new partnerships with Obayashi, Goodyear and Macnica, and expansion into Australia’s booming mining market.
A pilot program with Obayashi Corporation last November saw a Caterpillar 725 articulated dump truck autonomously complete a vital on-site function and carry out load-haul-dump cycles.
Giatec debuts SmartMix AI tool
Giatec has debuted what it claims is the world's first concrete AI tool for producers, SmartMix. The web-based AI tool allows producers to optimise concrete ingredient proportions, reduce cement usage, and predict the performance of their mixes while still meeting project specifications.
Giatec believes this tool will lower Greenhouse Gas emissions resulting from concrete production by 400 million tons annually, the equivalent of taking 110 million cars off the road.
SmartMix builds on Giatec's first AI software program Roxi, which has collected millions of data points from the company's SmartRock wireless concrete sensors across 8,000 projects and 80 countries.
Giatec's head of research and development, Andrew Fahim, said the new technologies are going to pave the path forward for the industry to meet increasing infrastructure demands.