Work to start on £25m low carbon innovation centre

WORK is set to begin on a new £25 million low carbon innovation centre in Midlothian, which has been tipped to significantly improve the green credentials of construction machinery.

The building, which will be carbon neutral in operation, will be the global centre of R&D and manufacturing for two ‘key’ technologies as industry steps up its journey to net zero.

The inward investment by Danfoss, a Danish family-owned business, will be home to Danfoss Editron which develops electric and hybrid powertrain systems for heavy-duty vehicles, and to Digital Displacement – a technology conceived at the University of Edinburgh which will reduce energy consumption in hydraulic machines.

Danfoss estimates that global adoption of these two technologies could reduce the lifetime CO2 emissions of excavators by 80 Megatonnes (Mt) by 2030 – equivalent to the entire annual CO2 emissions of Scotland and Denmark combined.

The centre at Shawfair Business Park will complete next year. The building will recover energy used during production and testing, with a heat pump available as a backup if required. Electricity consumption will also be covered by a green power purchase agreement.

The facility is being developed by Buccleuch Property

Brian Kennedy, director of operations from Danfoss Scotland, said, “This building will be Danfoss’s first carbon neutral manufacturing facility and demonstrates the company’s commitment to become CO2 neutral in all global operations by 2030, at the latest. Danfoss believes that energy efficiency, electrification and increasing integration between energy use and supply are the key steps to a sustainable future. With this building and these technologies, we believe we are contributing to this goal.

“Scotland is the natural home for this facility. Digital Displacement is a Scottish invention and brings with it a skilled and growing workforce which we aim to increase further in the years ahead.”

The ongoing development and commercialisation of the two technologies is being supported by the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre and Innovate UK.

In 2018, Danfoss, and partner Robbie Fluid Engineering secured £11 million from APC towards the company’s £22 million Digital Displacement programme, aimed at reducing energy consumption in off-road machines.

This year, Danfoss Editron, together with partners Meritor and Electra Commercial Vehicles, secured £15.9 million APC funding towards a £31.9 million programme to develop zero-emission electric powertrains for heavy vehicles.