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Konecranes wins the first customer for EPA-approved new diesel-to-hybrid conversion technology

210730 konecranes rtgs diesel to hybrid

Konecranes has won a contract with South Carolina Ports to supply 12 Rubber Tire Gantry (RTG) retrofit hybrid power packs, a milestone contract for new technology that offers significant carbon emission reductions and lower operating costs – without compromising performance.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved Konecranes’ new hybrid technology in April 2021 after a comprehensive testing protocol conducted by West Virginia University (WVU) at South Carolina Ports’ Wando Welch Terminal.

Konecranes partnered with WVU to test and measure RTG exhaust emissions using the new hybrid power packs, with WVU concluding: “Carbon monoxide emissions were observed to reduce by over 95% compared with conventional Tier 3 Diesel-electric RTG cranes.” *

The approval means that South Carolina Ports, and other US ports, are assured of the efficacy and sustainability of Konecranes’ technology, and it comes at a time when the agency is offering companies the chance to apply for grants like the DERA (Diesel Emissions Reduction Act) as they convert to more sustainable equipment. Funding for this retrofit is partially provided through a 2019 DERA grant that was awarded to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, in partnership with South Carolina Ports.

The conversion of the 12 20-year-old Charleston-based Konecranes diesel RTG cranes will begin in January 2022. The contract complements Konecranes’ momentum in the region, with over 30 new hybrid RTGs delivered to ports across America since 2020.

“The decision of South Carolina Ports to opt for Konecranes’ new technology is an indicator of things to come in an industry where the focus is increasingly on finding sustainable ways to stay ahead of growing demand. We have worked with South Carolina Ports for over 24 years and look forward to extending that relationship as we optimize their RTG fleet,” said Scott Lane, VP of Konecranes’ US Port Services. 

“Anyone can add a battery to an engine and call it ‘hybrid’, but because we manufacture our own drive and control systems, we are the only company that can conduct a full upgrade on a turnkey basis without compromising crane performance. This agreement shows the global strength of Konecranes, involving engineers in the US and Finland, including our RTG pioneer Jorma Merimaa, and the results have been sensational,” Lane added.

“In partnership with Konecranes and through the support of our grant funding, SC Ports will upgrade 12 RTG cranes with hybrid battery/genset engine systems, making them both high performing and energy-efficient,” SC Ports Chief Operating Officer Barbara Melvin said. “Konecranes’ technology aligns well with our efforts to invest in equipment that both enhances terminal operations and offers environmental benefits.”

The hybrid power pack retrofit is part of Konecranes’ suite of Ecolifting™ products that have been engineered from the ground up to deliver dramatically reduced carbon exhaust emissions. Ecolifting™ in turn is part of the company’s overall vision of a low-carbon, sustainable future.

A strong focus on customers and commitment to business growth and continuous improvement make Konecranes a lifting industry leader. This is underpinned by investments in digitalization and technology, plus our work to make material flows more efficient with solutions that decarbonize the economy and advance circularity and safety.

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