Laing O’Rourke bans diesel plant from sites

A JCB excavator powered by HVO (Image: JCB)

Laing O’Rourke is to replace red diesel with hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) in all its construction plant before the end of March.

The decision follows tests over the last six months by its specialist plant businesses Select Plant Hire and Explore Plant & Equipment.

It claimed the move would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the operation of the plant, including excavators, cranes, piling rigs, dumper trucks and generators, by up to 90%. Laing O’Rourke will also ensure that any third-party plant equipment used on its project sites uses HVO rather than diesel.

Red diesel in plant is currently the largest single source of Laing O’Rourke’s direct emissions, accounting for 39% of the total. The company aims to reach operational net zero carbon by 2030. It is treating HVO as a “transition fuel” ahead of switching to electric and hydrogen-powered plant equipment as it becomes more readily available.

Meanwhile, the company is in the process of transitioning to an all-electric company car fleet, with three quarters of company cars now PHEVs or EVs.

Alex Warrington, managing director of Select Plant Hire, said: “This is a positive step forward and will result in a substantial reduction in the largest single source of our direct emissions. While it would be more straightforward to switch to white diesel, we believe it’s important we take the necessary actions to meet our 2030 operational net zero deadline.”

Warrington added: “From 2025 we expect to see a marked increase in the availability of electric and hydrogen plant equipment from manufacturers, and from then we will start to replace the HVO powered plant in our fleet.”

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