INDUSTRY INSIDER | April 23, 2024

United Rentals Launches One of the Largest Batteries in the Rental Market

Original Source: FocusOn Equipment Rentals & Retailers

A new smart battery system developed by United Rentals and Termaco is poised to change how the largest construction equipment is powered.

Committed to driving innovation in service of its customers, United Rentals partnered with Termaco to bring the Termaco TREE 500kW to market. The battery unit, one of the largest in the rental market, enables companies to reduce fuel consumption and equipment-related downtime while helping them achieve quieter, lower-emission jobsites.

General contracting firm Award Construction, based in Alberta, Canada, pioneered the use of the unit to fully power an 8-ton, 70-meter-tall tower crane by battery on the Riverbank Landing Project in St. Albert.

Slashing reliance on generators

Tower crane operators typically spend the bulk a shift sitting in the cab on standby, waiting for a request from the ground crew to lift and move materials, then waiting again for the next request. Generators are sized to handle the maximum load of those picks, but in between picks, the generator continues to run, at very light loads, in order to power the crane lights and the climate control in the cab. Running a generator significantly underloaded wastes fuel, produces unnecessary emissions and increases the chance of serious generator damage and breakdown, especially in cold climates.

Pairing a generator with the TREE 500kW allows a contractor to significantly downsize the generator and dramatically reduce generator run time and emissions. Charging and powering are seamless; the battery unit communicates with the generator and turns it on only when it needs charging, then turns it off again. The battery is pre-programmed with minimum and maximum charge settings so there are no interruptions during operation.

A generator can be programmed to run at 80% load when charging the TREE to maintain an appropriate load for generator efficiency.

Proven results in the field

According to Award Construction, the company went from running a 300kVA T4 generator 24 hours a day to power its tower crane to charging the TREE unit with a 100kW generator for just 2.5 hours a day and operating the crane solely on battery power. They reported no lag during charging.

Reducing generator run time by 91% resulted in a fuel usage reduction of approximately 80%. The company anticipates an estimated 1,862 gallons of fuel saved in a single month rental period.

Despite bitter winter temperature and snow loads on the unit, the battery has performed flawlessly.

Reducing downtime and increasing safety

Relying primarily on battery power can greatly diminish the need for generator-related service calls and equipment swap-outs, especially in cold climates, preserving uptime. For owned generators, reducing generator run time not only decreases maintenance needs but also extends the life of the equipment.

By properly sizing battery packs and generators based on jobsite requirements, contractors can effectively manage any inrush loads while eliminating generator underloading, thereby guarding against generator failure and loss of productivity.

Reducing diesel consumption boosts site safety by minimizing fuel deliveries and the risk of spills and contamination.

Curbing emissions

More and more companies are interested in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of their operations. Alternative power generation solutions can help them achieve that goal.

Running a 300kVA T4 generator for 24 hours produces approximately 569 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per day. By running a 100kW generator for only 2.5 hours per day, Award Construction reduced those emissions by 77% according to the Estimated Emissions dashboard in United Rentals’ worksite management platform, Total Control®.

For smaller applications, the battery unit can be powered by solar panels to create a completely emission-free solution.

Saving time and money and minimizing risks helps companies successfully complete projects on time and on budget. The TREE 500kW offers a practical solution to reducing downtime, fuel use and generator maintenance while curbing emissions for a cleaner, safer, more efficient jobsite.