October 27, 2022
What do Caterpillar’s construction, mining, energy and transportation customers have in common? They expect Caterpillar products to deliver the power and performance that gets the job done. As many customers adopt ambitious environmental, social and governance goals, they are evaluating equipment options to help get the job done more sustainably.
We’re putting our expertise to work on multiple advanced power technologies to enable the energy flexibility our customers need to be successful in a reduced-carbon world.
Caterpillar is expanding on its legacy in gas engines and Solar® gas turbines with more than 35 years of experience with high-hydrogen fuel. Many of our products can use hydrogen on a blended basis today and we are expanding this capability for the future. In response to customer interest in hydrogen, we announced that some Cat® gas generator sets are being configured to use 100 percent hydrogen on a design-to-order basis. We’ll also have some commercial sets configured to operate on natural gas blended with up to 25 percent hydrogen.
We are also exploring how hydrogen fuel cells can be used to power stationary and mobile applications. We recently 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. 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.
Beyond embracing lower-carbon sources of power, we are investing to make conventional energy generation methods more sustainable. Caterpillar has acquired CarbonPoint Solutions, a U.S.-based carbon capture technology company that provides technology to concentrate and capture CO2 for utilization or sequestration. The company’s patented processes can be applied to engines and turbines at oil and gas sites, distributed power and industrial plants and waste-to-energy sites. Caterpillar plans to offer these technologies for deployment on our Cat engines and Solar gas turbines.
Equipment with electric and hybrid powertrains combine an electric drive transmission with power components. While Caterpillar has been incorporating electric drive technology into its construction and mining machines for many years, today’s advanced electric drive machines offer greater agility, improved cycle times, less fuel consumption and lower carbon emissions than earlier versions.
As an example, Goodfellow Bros., a U.S.-based heavy civil construction company, is using the D6 XE dozer, the world’s first high drive electric drive dozer, on a solar project in Hawaii. After 900 hours of operation, Goodfellow found that the D6 XE generated 35% lower emissions compared to the other dozers on the same job.
Our customers are interested in energy storage for different reasons, which is why our approach to batteries is modular and scalable across stationary and mobile applications. The Cat Energy Storage System, or ESS, is a rapidly deployable electric power solution to help customers integrate multiple power sources on a worksite. The ESS can provide grid stabilization, transient assist, and renewable energy storage. We worked with a customer to design a hybrid e-drill system that pairs a field-gas-powered generator with energy storage and integrated controls to help reduce costs and emissions at a land drilling site. The rig charges the battery when it’s not running at full capacity.
Our microgrid solutions and controls integrate renewable energy sources into electric power systems. These installations are particularly valuable in remote locations where electrical grids may deliver inconsistent power, but where renewable energy sources like solar, wind or hydropower are available.
Caterpillar has also developed a battery electric underground loader, the R1700 XE. Along with its mobile equipment charger, the MEC500, this solution is a game changer in deep, difficult to ventilate and high temperature underground mines. The EMD® Joule, a battery electric zero-emissions switcher locomotive, provides zero-idle and low noise within railyard applications. Leveraging our deep system integration experience and knowledge, we are developing a proprietary battery management system to monitor batteries and a fully integrated battery electric powertrain for each electrified machine.
Additionally, Caterpillar announced that four battery electric machine prototypes and a battery prototype will be displayed at bauma 2022 October 24-30 in Munich, Germany. The battery electric machine prototypes include the 301.9 mini excavator, 320 medium excavator, 950 GC medium wheel loader and 906 compact wheel loader. The machines are powered by Caterpillar battery prototypes and include an onboard AC charger. We also plan to offer an offboard DC fast charging option. The Caterpillar-designed batteries in these machines will also be available to power other industrial applications. The batteries are engineered to be scalable to industry and customer performance needs and maximize sustainability throughout their lifecycle, including recycling and reuse at the end of life.
Caterpillar is committed to leading in this changing world through collaboration, investments and acquisitions that add to our capabilities and accelerate development timelines.