Speedy signs big deal for hydrogen access platforms
By Euan Youdale04 July 2023
A partnership between UK and Ireland rental company Speedy Hire and Niftylift to manufacture the world’s first hydrogen-electric powered access platform will see the first unit delivered this month.
The two companies co-developed the fuel cell powered articulating boom lift and agreed a three-year partnership worth £9 million ($11.4 million) in the first year, that will see Niftylift manufacture the lifts at its Milton Keynes, UK, facility exclusively for Speedy Hire, alongside an additional fleet of Niftylift hybrid powered access platforms.
The pioneering hydrogen fuel cell technology was developed to provide a commercially sustainable product, while meeting the drive towards net zero as the UK construction sector is under pressure to reduce emissions.
Dan Evans, Chief Executive at Speedy Hire, said, “This world-first technology is a game changer for UK construction companies, enabling them to start using equipment powered by a zero-emission fuel such as hydrogen.
Our investment into this partnership with Niftylift enables us to accelerate the sustainable and technological evolution of the sectors we operate in and supports our ambitious plan to become a net zero business by 2040, ten years ahead of the government target.”
Net zero strategy
The sector has been mandated to lower carbon emissions by the Government, with a recent House of Commons Committee report ‘Building to net zero: costing carbon in construction’, estimating that 25% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to the built environment from every stage of the construction and use cycle. The report concludes that “emissions from the built environment must be reduced if the UK is to meet net zero by 2050”.
According to Speedy Hire, As Tier 1 contractors demand low and zero-emission solutions to meet their Scope 3 supply chain carbon, the shift to lower-emission construction equipment is becoming an increasingly core component of winning work through the tender processes. This has led to the development of green procurement policies, which prioritise the selection of eco-friendly materials and approaches when selecting suppliers. Additionally, some bids now require a sustainability report detailing how the proposed project will reduce environmental impacts and provide social value.
The rental company’s new Velocity strategy is designed to meet these requirements. Last year Speedy invested £52.1 million ($66.1 million) in its hire fleet, of which 51% was on sustainable equipment. It has a target to ensure that such ‘eco’ products account for 70% of its itemised equipment fleet by 2027.
During the last financial year 44% of Speedy Hire’s itemised hire range was tagged as sustainable eco products and the company reports that 53% of its revenue was generated from eco products, reflecting increased demand from customers for sustainable solutions.