Energy, Fuel Economy and Emissions

Cat Machines at work
Cat Machines at work

Supporting Our Customers

Power is at the heart of our customers’ work. Innovation and integration are at the heart of ours. And we’re structured to deliver innovation and integration. Our engineers innovate at the component, system, product and worksite levels to develop integrated solutions to address customers’ specific goals — including lower GHG emissions, energy flexibility and business sustainability.

Caterpillar’s approach to the energy transition is to offer multiple solutions made to match our customers’ work. Many of our advanced power offerings are already at work on customer sites in each of our primary business segments, either complementing our existing products or as stand-alone solutions. Others are in development. In order to continue to help our customers achieve their climate-related goals, our advanced power solution development is focused in five technology areas:

“Caterpillar’s approach to the energy transition 
is to offer multiple solutions made to match our customers’ work."

Man Welding
Man Welding

Fuel choice is one way customers can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from in-use products. Many Caterpillar products are operating on lower-carbon alternatives to diesel and natural gas today, including biodiesel, renewable diesel, and biogas. For example, renewable liquid fuels like hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) are being used in our C175-20 engines to provide stand by power at a Microsoft data center in Sweden. HVO can reduce carbon intensity by 45% to 85% versus diesel. All Caterpillar diesel engines are capable of operating on 100% HVO right now. Caterpillar engines operating on natural gas blended with up to 80% hydrogen are being demonstrated in power generation projects today. Turbines can operate on up to 100% hydrogen. These and other projects are helping to demonstrate the viability of potential fuel sources like hydrogen while the infrastructure to support availability of renewable hydrogen is being developed. In 2021, we announced that some Caterpillar gas generator sets are being configured to use 100% hydrogen on a design-to-order basis, and some commercial sets will be configured to operate on natural gas blended with up to 25% hydrogen.

Fuel cells use renewable hydrogen fuel as a scalable electric power source for stationary and mobile equipment. We announced a three-year project through a collaboration with Microsoft and Ballard Power Systems to demonstrate a power system incorporating large-format hydrogen fuel cells to produce reliable and sustainable backup power for Microsoft data centers. The project is supported and partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy under the H2@Scale initiative and backed by the National Renewable Energy Lab. Caterpillar is providing the overall system integration, power electronics and controls that form the central structure of the power solution. In addition, Progress Rail announced a memorandum of understanding with BNSF Railway and Chevron to advance the demonstration of a locomotive powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

Electric drivetrains and hybrid powertrains employ an electric drive transmission with power components to improve energy efficiency and productivity. The D6E XE
high-drive dozer, for example, offers up to 35% better fuel efficiency and up to 23% less fuel usage than previous models. The 795 electric drive mining truck with a diesel-electric drivetrain has been paired with a trolley-assist system that allows the truck to use electric power while traveling uphill, and then switch back to diesel operation if electricity isn’t readily available. The trolley system reduces fuel burn by more than 90% while on trolley.

Batteries power work with stored electrical energy, instead of, or in addition to, an engine. In 2021, we debuted our first 100% battery-powered electric drive mining machine and made-to-match charger. We’ve also designed a worksite power solution for a land-drilling operation that pairs a G3512 Natural Gas Generator with the Cat Energy Storage System with fully integrated controls. The combination allows the customer to make use of readily available field gas reducing the operation’s fuel costs and carbon intensity.

Microgrids integrate renewable energy sources into electric power systems. These worksite installations are particularly valuable in remote locations where renewable energy sources like solar or hydropower are readily available and electrical grids may deliver inconsistent power. Barrick Gold Corporation collaborated with Cat dealer Tractafric to install 7.5 MW of battery energy storage capacity for its microgrid at the Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Now operational, Tractafric’s solution deploys the battery energy storage and Cat bi-directional power inverters to provide grid stability, while the Cat Microgrid Controller seamlessly integrates up to 45 MW of power generated by three hydroelectric power stations and 36 Cat 3512 diesel generator sets.

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