Helping Customers Meet Carbon Emissions Reduction Goals Via Innovative Product Solutions

December 15, 2021

Global construction and mining companies. International technology firms. Worldwide energy and transportation providers. Across industries and around the globe, Caterpillar customers are moving towards a reduced-carbon future. They need alternatives to established fuels and energy sources to power their work while growing their businesses. Caterpillar and our customers share a commitment to developing and leveraging sustainable solutions to build a better, more sustainable world. For Caterpillar, that means further reducing Caterpillar’s greenhouse gas emissions while helping our customers meet their climate-related objectives. 

The company recently established seven sustainability goals to be accomplished by 2030, including five climate- and environmental-related goals and two focused on employee and customer safety. One goal states that 100% of Caterpillar’s new products through 2030 will be more sustainable than the previous generation through collaboration with customers, reduced waste, improved design for rebuild/remanufacturing, lower emissions or improved efficiency. Caterpillar is already at work innovating and integrating technologies across products, systems and solutions to support customers in the energy transition. 

The Advanced Power Products (APP) team within Caterpillar’s Energy & Transportation segment, for example, is exploring and developing power components to optimize the efficiency, productivity and sustainability of Caterpillar equipment. The APP portfolio includes battery and energy storage systems and chargers, fuel cell power systems, power inverters, integrated motors, hybrid energy system controllers and more. Caterpillar’s goal is to offer customers multiple technology solutions that are made to match our customers’ work because no single solution will work for all customer applications and worksites. Solutions include:

  • Making our established power systems even more efficient and fuel flexible, like engines that operate on renewable diesel, hydrogen blends and 100% hydrogen, and biogas;
  • Pairing established power sources with new technologies in a hybrid format, like integrating engines, solar panels and energy storage into a single power solution;
  • Replacing established power sources with stand-alone new technologies, like a battery-powered underground mining loader and dedicated charger or battery-powered wheel loader or excavator.

To understand more about how the APP team designs and implements customer-specific combinations of these technologies to power products and jobsites, we asked Caterpillar General Manager Mike Rochford, who has responsibility for the company’s Advanced Power Sources strategy, to shed some light on his team’s work.


Grid stabilization system from Caterpillar at Barrick Gold Corporation’s Kibali Mine

Grid stabilization system from Caterpillar at Barrick Gold Corporation’s Kibali Mine

Q: What is the energy transition and how does it impact Caterpillar customers?

A: The world is moving toward improvements in energy efficiency, an increase in the use of renewable energy sources, improved energy management and other practices with the goal of a reduced-carbon future. Customers want to be responsible global citizens and good stewards of the environment while running profitable businesses. Caterpillar is focused on exploring and developing products and services that will help customers power their work more sustainably while growing their business.  

Q: Tell us about some of the exciting innovations Caterpillar is working on to support customers in the energy transition?

A:  Caterpillar solutions are at work around the world today, and many more are in development:  

  • We are enabling increased use of low carbon intensity fuels and hydrogen blends in our engines.
  • We are exploring fuel cells as a way to use renewable hydrogen fuel as a scalable source of electric power.
  • We are employing electric drive and hybrid powertrain systems to maximize system efficiency 
  • In some applications, we are powering the work with stored electrical energy.
  • We are helping customers integrate renewable energy sources into electric power systems.
  • Several of our customers have recently announced collaborations with us on zero-emissions solutions: 
    • NMG
    • Chevron
    • BHP
    • Rio Tinto
    • Newmont


Q:  What is your area of expertise, and what kinds of skills and experiences do you look for when building a team to work on such important projects?

A:  I have a background in engineering and product development, both on power systems as well as machines, which is similar to our many APP team employees around the world. A solid background in technology & engineering is a starting point for most APP employees, whether that be power systems engineering, electrical or controls engineering, mechanical engineering, physics, or software or computer engineering. Our work is exciting and fast-paced; this technology is dynamic and rapidly evolving so every day presents a new technology development or challenge. Collaboration and driving results in a team environment are also important skills for APP team members – product development occurs with focused teams and involves interaction with a wide variety of Caterpillar functions including machine design, manufacturing, supply chain management, product support, finance and sales & marketing.


Q:  What inspires Caterpillar to want to help customers build a better world? 

A:  Caterpillar has a long-standing commitment to sustainability, one of our five Values in Action. It is part of who we are and what we do. It inspires us to help our customers build a better world through products and services that help fulfill society’s basic needs – such as shelter, clean water, education and reliable energy – in a sustainable way. Sustainability also drives our innovation. Caterpillar teams, like the one I lead, are tasked with coming up with “never-before-seen” or “first-time-applied-this-way” solutions to help customers achieve their environmental and economic goals.