HS2 trials 100-tonne electric drilling rig

By Leila Steed16 June 2022

The 100 tonne Bauer eBG 33 electric drill rig The 100-tonne Bauer eBG 33 electric drill rig on site at BBV’s Warwickshire HS2 site. (Photo: Bauer)

A prototype all-electric drilling rig is being trialled on the construction of the UK’s new HS2 (High Speed 2) railway line.

Developed by Germany-based specialist Bauer Maschinen, the 100-tonne eBG 33 is now being used by HS2’s joint venture contractor Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV), for deep foundations applications. 

Dan Fawcett, Innovation Director at BBV, said, “We’re so excited to trial the world’s first all-electric, high-capacity drilling rig at one of our HS2 sites in Warwickshire.

“This pioneering project marks a major step forward towards transitioning to all-electric powered plants, which is great news for the protection of the environment. We’ll look to share what we learn from this trial and extend it across our other sites, as well as the wider industry.”

Described as having the “potential to be a massive game changer”, the eBG 33 is designed for use on large-scale construction projects and, when used over a longer time period, is said to significantly reduce operating costs.

BBV is using the machine alongside a standard diesel rig to construct large diameter piles. The first results from the trial indicate that the electric prototype is producing roughly 1,292kg less carbon dioxide emissions per day than its traditionally powered companion. 

The eBG 33, which was revealed by Bauer in the summer of last year, is powered by an electric engine and incorporates a modern three-phase asynchronous motor that enables a high level of productivity, while producing 50% less noise.

It can be operated in the same way as a conventional drill rig and - with a 230V socket for additional attachments - is fully capable of performing all of the same tasks, including Kelly drilling, cutter soil mixing processes, double-head drilling and even diaphragm wall milling.

Tim Laemmle, from Bauer Maschinen said, “It is great to be working with HS2, BBV and SB3, as the first UK specialist contractor to demonstrate the capabilities of the product.

“We’re fully committed to bringing emission-free equipment to the deep foundation sector. There is a strong desire to promote our new electrified equipment as a genuine, reliable alternative to fossil fuel driven machinery.”

This latest trial of the electric drill represents the latest stage of its development. Earlier this year, Bauer used the machine to carry out piling operations on a test site in Münster, Germany, successfully drilling piles of 1200mm to a depth of 16m.

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