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Telematics Solution For Carbon Emissions

Team Seeks Low-Carbon Supply Chain

12 May 2016

Costain is working with the University of Edinburgh Business School and Cenex, the UK’s first centre of excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies, to see how telematics can be used to reduce carbon emissions on major infrastructure projects.

Telematics is an interdisciplinary field that brings together computer science, telecommunications and vehicular and sensor technologies. Supported by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, the one-year project is called Reducing Construction Carbon Emissions in Logistics (ReCCEL).

The aim of the project is to gain a better understanding of where telematics could have the biggest impact on the supply chain and the equipment used on site.

Tim Embley, Costain’s Group Innovation and Knowledge Manager, said that, due to the structure of the industry, supply chain fragmentation currently represents the biggest barrier to low carbon delivery of major infrastructure projects.

“On major projects like Thames Tideway Tunnel and Crossrail, we deal with a large number of subcontractors over multiple sites which are looking for continuity and direction to make the right investment for a sustainable future with Costain. We are encouraging our business partners to align their business aspirations to deliver better outcomes to our customers,” said Tim.

The data from the project will be used to determine where low carbon vehicles, which can use alternative fuels, can be best used.

Chris Walsh, Head of Technical Support and Consultancy at Cenex, said: “Low carbon vehicles now offer real alternatives to traditional solutions, saving carbon and reducing costs. Our work on ReCCEL has already highlighted opportunities for savings in construction logistics, with powerful examples that can be used across other current and future major projects.”

Dr. Roberto Rossi from the University of Edinburgh Business School, added: “The technology is there, but we believe that not all partners are currently extracting as much value as they could from it.”

Besides Cenex and the University of Edinburgh Business School, Costain has invited suppliers and subcontractors to be an integral part of the project.

In addition to site visits and interactions with supply chain partners, ReCCEL has hosted two workshops which were attended by customers, suppliers, subcontractors, plant manufactures and a number of Costain site staff who work in either the environment or plant management teams.

So far the project has received input from Crossrail and the C610 railway systems project, which involves the fit out of the new rail tunnels; Highways England’s A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme; Southern Water’s Woolston Wastewater Treatment Works in Southampton, and Thames Water’s Tideway Tunnel Project.

“Observing and mapping existing processes at Crossrail’s C610 contract has been a unique and rewarding experience. Thanks to the input of plant manufacturers, we can now track plant operations and have a live stream of data coming from the site 24/7. This offers tremendous opportunities for process analysis and improvement,” said Dr. Rossi.

The final workshop took place in April. From May to September the team will run a cost/benefit analysis to determine the economic impact of the solutions arising from the workshop. The results will be fed into a report for Innovate UK, which will be submitted in September.

Costain’s Chris Hills, who is managing the project, said: “This project is important to Costain and the wider industry because as it will help to lower our carbon emissions, change behaviour away from high fuel use activities such as long-term idling of equipment and also leads to a reduction in fuel consumption, which is an added economic benefit.”

Mark Wray, Lead Technologist at Innovate UK, added: “We have funded consortia like this to see how this will accelerate integrated supply chains and how they can make better use of technology to reduce carbon and increase productivity.”



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