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Fulton Hogan adds new Volvo hybrid excavators to NZ fleet

Two Volvo EC300EL hybrid excavators

Fulton Hogan Nelson and Central Otago quarries have each taken delivery of hybrid Volvo excavators – the second and third such machines to join Fulton Hogan since New Zealand’s first hybrid excavator arrived at Stevenson’s Drury Quarry in September 2022.

The two new Volvo EC300EL excavators employ the same technology as Drury’s larger EC480EL, which supplier TDX says has the distinction of being the first Volvo 50-tonne hybrid excavator to be used commercially in the world.

Nelson Quarries Divisional Manager James Blacklaws said the machines would offer the opportunity to reduce CO2 and nitrous oxide emissions by more than 10 per cent compared with the most efficient diesel-only excavator.

“We’re looking to do things differently here – as our quarry-to-wetlands projects show – and reducing the environmental impact of extraction is consistent with this,” Blacklaws said.

Central Otago Divisional Manager Quarries Matt Goulding said it was exciting to play a part in introducing emerging technologies.

“One of the big challenges in hybrid or electric power is meeting the power needs of larger equipment, and our hybrid digger is a step towards addressing this,” Goulding said.

“We all know about the need for change in relation to sustainability – it’s great to see tools appearing that are helping us achieve this.”

The augmented power comes from energy fed to a hydraulic pump via an accumulator as the boom lowers. The hybrid excavators are suited to quarry work because there is minimal slewing (rotation) beyond 90 degrees, resulting in lower energy use and a greater amount of time, proportionally, in regeneration mode.

Fulton Hogan is working with Volvo in other practical ways to reduce its carbon emissions. The company recently commissioned Volvo to build a larger bucket (8m3 vs 7.3m3) for its Volvo L260 loaders at Drury Quarry. This will enable a large truck and trailer unit to be filled in three loads rather than four, saving up to 130 loader movements per day and considerable carbon emissions.


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