Team Seeks Low-Carbon Supply Chain
01 December 2015
Costain is embarking on a year-long development project to find ways of creating an integrated supply chain that produces fewer carbon emissions.
The Group is taking the lead role in a consortium that includes the UK’s Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies – Cenex – and Edinburgh University that are being funded by Innovate UK.
This study will look at current best practice on sites and the barriers to lowering carbon emissions. Reducing these emissions is a fundamental requirement of Costain’s customers.
The project will pay particular attention to reducing emissions from heavy plant on sites. Currently, all of Costain’s emission indices are dropping with the exception of diesel consumption, which has doubled in the past year.
This is a by-product of the Company’s recent success in winning major complex delivery contracts – particularly highways projects, which require heavy plant vehicles that spend a lot of time either idling or working at full power.
A search is now on for ways of reducing this consumption. Costain will be providing several construction projects as a testbed to understand current processes, engage supply chain partners and present recommendations on how it can transition to low carbon supply chains.
Various options for this will be examined, including the use of alternative fuels and of telematics – systems on vehicles that produce data on performance and can communicate with other vehicles nearby, or a base station.
Telematics, for example, can indicate the degree to which individual vehicles are unproductively idling.
“The initial drive of the project is to develop an understanding of the cost-benefits of using telematics,” explained Costain’s Group Carbon Manager, Damien Canning. “We can then use our findings to embed requirements into contracts with plant providers.”
The project kicked off in October. The aim is to find ways of reducing carbon emissions throughout the entire life cycle of a project, but construction vehicles obviously play a large part in that, said Costain Project Manager, Chris Hills.
Cenex was invited to join the study because of its work in finding low-carbon mobility solutions, said Chris Walsh, Cenex’s Head of Technical Support and Consultancy. “We’re looking at the potential for low-emission and zero-emission solutions to be employed on large construction sites.”
Costain Communications Department