Laing O’Rourke will run plant equipment on hydrotreated vegetable oil

UK construction and engineering firm Laing O’Rourke is due to replace red diesel with hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) in all of its UK heavy machinery by the end of March.

The decision follows successful testing over the past six months by the company’s specialist plant firms, Select Plant Hire and Explore Plant and Equipment.

The use of red diesel in plant equipment is the company’s largest source of direct emissions, accounting for 39% of the total.

The change is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from plant operations, including excavators, cranes, pile drivers, dumpers and generators, by up to 90%.

Laing O’Rourke will use HVO as a transition fuel as it works towards a plant fleet comprised entirely of electric and hydrogen-powered equipment by 2030.

Alex Warrington, Managing Director of Select Plant Hire UK, said: “This is a positive step forward which will result in a substantial reduction in the largest single source of our direct emissions. While it’s easier to switch to white diesel, we believe it’s important to take the necessary steps to meet our 2030 net-zero operational deadline.”

Laing O’Rourke is transitioning to a fleet of 100% electric company cars, with three-quarters of company cars now being plug-in hybrid electric vehicles or electric vehicles. The company will also ensure that any third-party plant equipment used at its project sites uses HVO rather than diesel.

Last year, Select Plant Hire took delivery of the UK’s first electric crawler crane from Liebherr to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions from generators on its construction sites.

Additionally, Laing O’Rourke launched a project to decarbonise pre-made concrete components used in construction after securing a grant to co-fund work from the UK’s Industrial Energy Transformation Fund.

The Decarbonisation of Precast Concrete Project will carry out an in-depth study on reducing carbon emissions at the Laing O’Rourke Center of Excellence for Modern Construction in Steetley, Nottinghamshire.

Leon E. Hill