The electric revolution begins in Austria

Together with Liebherr, the i + R Group has developed a unique construction site. Rather than employing diesel engine powered plant the site is populated with electric vehicles as the constructor aims to create zero emissions.
The electric revolution begins in Austria The electric revolution begins in Austria The electric revolution begins in Austria The electric revolution begins in Austria The electric revolution begins in Austria

Following its debut at Bauma, Liebherr's LB 16 unplugged battery electric piling rig went to work in Austria

Work at the expansion of the A14 Bludenz-Bürs motorway junction in Austria is centred around the use of an LB 16 electrical large rotary drilling rig from Liebherr. In support of reducing emission as much as possible electric construction support vehicles from Huppenkothen's suncar subsidiary are being used on the project.

At the interchange of the A14 Bludenz-Bürs, congestion leads again and again to massive traffic obstructions. In order to avoid dangerous backlogs on the motorway, the Austria toll road authority, ASFiNAG, has commissioned the construction of a large roundabout with two bridges over the A14 and two new connections to the L82 Brandnerstraße, also with a roundabout and a water protection system. Undertaking the work on the west side of the highway, driving towards Tyrol, which is due for completion by the end of 2021, are ARGE PORR / Jägerbau, the Vorarlberger i + R Spezialtiefbau.

A battery-powered first

For the foundation work, i + R is using the world's first drilling rig to market that offers "Local Zero Emission". The rig in question is the LB 16 unplugged, debuted by Liebherr at Bauma 2019, which not only has an alternative electro-hydraulic drive concept but can also be used wirelessly thanks to the battery. The lack of an internal combustion engine has two distinct advantages: the LB 16 unplugged causes no exhaust gases and significantly less noise.

In a very successful cooperation between Liebherr and the Huppenkothen subsidiary suncar, a conventional LB16 rotary drilling rig was converted to electric and cordless propulsion within just 11 months and presented at the BAUMA in Munich this year.

Limited space

The challenge for i + R is the tight construction field itself and the limited working height. The pile foundations are to be built directly under a high-voltage line. Therefore, the drill is designed with as low a head as possible, with a shortened leader.

As part of the project, i + R is building 148 piles and drilling a total of 1,742m into the ground. In this case, about 1,200m3 of concrete will be installed. The 900mm diameter piles vary in depth between 10 and 14m. Due to the limited working height, drill pipes with a low height (2m) must be used and the reinforcement cages installed in sections. The daily output of the machine is about two piles per day.

Some of the concrete is also delivered with a Liebherr concrete mixer ETM 905 with electric drum drive. The battery capacity during normal operation is enough to keep it running for the whole of the working day. As a plug-in hybrid, the battery can be recharged while driving or externally via a plug, for example at a concrete mixing plant.

Huppenkothen E-excavator

In addition, i + R uses an electric compact excavator (TB1140E) from the construction equipment manufacturer Huppenkothen on the site. For four years, suncar has been electrifying and battering compact excavators for the manufacturer of construction machinery in Lauterach. More than 30 such excavators are already in operation across Europe.

"Operations in real operation confirm us that the performance of the electrified compact excavator is a given. In addition to the avoidance of emissions, the lower noise pollution is a major advantage - especially when used in inner cities and indoor," said Martin Hofer, Huppenkothen MD.

Thus, for the first time, a construction site in special civil engineering is operating with only electric drive machines. Over the course of a single year, this will equate to a saving of approximately 35,000L of diesel and a reduction of CO2 emissions of more than 92t.

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