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Emissions changes need more than hot air

As you probably know, January saw the latest instalment of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

As you probably know, January saw the latest instalment of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. Various environmental experts joined politicians and journalists to discuss how the world is going to meet energy targets and switch to renewable consumption and so on.

It was unfortunate that at the time of the summit, the price of oil had hit a low of about US $42 per barrel, but all agreed that this was just a blip, and that interest in renewable energy would soon resume.

The irony of holding such an event in an oil-rich emirate, which currently lacks even basic recycling infrastructure wasn’t lost on us, but at least the ambition is there.

Where though, does the machinery sector fit into this? It seems likely that at least some parts of the GCC will have to comply with some form of emissions regulation at some point in the future. This will either be a positive step, or it could be disastrous depending on how it is implemented.

Regardless of whether this is the case or not, there is a strong compunction to save some diesel. Although the price is down again this month (or at least, it is here in Dubai.) every dirham saved on fuel can be directly turned into profit. With the cost of juice being at least five percent of every contract you can see this is a saving that it would be in just about everyone’s interest to make.

Some interesting ideas in this respect came from the manufacturers last year. Volvo CE demonstrated an interesting hybrid truck concept at ConExpo last year, while Komatsu went one step further and actually put a diesel/electric excavator into production.

This machine was said to reduce consumption between a quarter and a half. Unfortunately, to our knowledge they have only made about thirty of them and all for the Japanese market. Given that Komatsu, like most other firms, has drawn in its horns for now, we doubt we’ll see much more of this exciting concept for a year or so.

This is a pity. Real savings of fossil fuel ultimately will be the product of engineers designing bold solutions and companies with the vision to bring these products to market. Simply talking about it in a summit will achieve very little.
 

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