SA waste firm looks at powering own electric propulsion

By: Rob McKay


Renewables and storage batteries in mix for examination of EV options

SA waste firm looks at powering own electric propulsion
East Waste is to investigate the case for EVs and their charging source

 

As South Australia looks on the way to surmounting its recent electricity issues, Eastern Adelaide garbage collection operator East Waste is starting to look beyond gas propulsion for its fleet.

East Waste, controlled by a number of local councils, is spurred by global developments in electric propulsion for trucks.

East Waste’s interest is still in early formation and has surfaced in its draft business plan for next year.

"There are a lot of hurdles to jump through and if it falls down at any of them, that’ll be the end of the story," East Waste general manager Rob Gregory tells ATN.

"The concept itself is very much in its infancy.

"We think it’s prudent and timely now to look at it."

EW’s current plan notes it is examining a fleet conversion to high-density compressed natural gas after positive initial results but it notes EVs are now a significant option. 

"It is proposed to undertake a holistic investigation into the generation and local storage of power (i.e. solar/wind system with battery back up) and ability to use all or some of this system to power a suite of electric-powered vehicles," the plan states.

"In simple terms, it could power itself via renewable energy through the day, (resulting in long-term electricity savings and reduced carbon footprint), with excess power stored in batteries to be drawn upon at night for the charging of collection vehicle(s) and to provide and uninterrupted power supply during times of mains power loss."

EV uptake has been gathering pace in New Zealand, with waste collection to the fore.

There, progress has been made by fellow New Zealand by contractor Waste Management NZ (WM) in its heavy and light electric vehicle (EV) push.

The company reportedly imported a vehicle from Dutch electric vehicle company Emoss for conversion.

Emoss makes electric prime movers, rigids, vans, buses and drivelines.

In mid-February, WM claimed the first electric sideloader waste collection truck in the southern hemisphere for Christchurch operations.

In the vehicle, batteries power every function, from the lifting arm to the spinning the wheels to the computer that the driver uses to know which streets to travel down, it says.

A range of truck functions – including temperature, power consumption and battery status – can be measured remotely, ensuring that the vehicle is operating as efficiently as possible at all times.

Driven in part by landfill gas emissions that generate electricity for the national grid, the WM vehicle carries out a fortnightly general waste collection across the city and is said to have a 200km range.

Council solid waste manager Ross Trotter says the truck’s arrival underlines Christchurch’s reputation as the most electric vehicle-friendly city in NZ.

"The Council strongly supports a ‘go electric’ approach to its own car fleet," Trotter says.

"As an organisation, we aim to be carbon neutral by 2030.

"The electric rubbish truck service provided by our contractor, Waste Management, is another big step in the right direction towards our emissions goal following the Council’s switch to electric cars.

"The electric truck is also quieter, which will be much appreciated by city residents, particularly during early collections.

"It is also ideal for a predictable stop-start urban route as it recharges itself when it stops and starts to collect the wheelie bins."

There are plans to introduce more electric trucks into the collection fleet later in the year.

Last year, WM was named the winner of the Industry Innovation Award at the Road Transport Forum Conference.

This award recognises outstanding innovation in the NZ commercial road and freight industry.

Back in Adelaide, EW’s annual report and other documents point to an operation with a strong focus on fleet performance on a range of measures including IT.

The operation says it undertakes an annual fleet replacement program that ensures that no vehicle in our fleet older than eight years.

It also has a series of what it calls ‘non-negotiables’ for fleet upkeep and safety.

These include:

  • all collection vehicles are fully integrated with a GPS system that provides the location of the vehicle at all times
  • each collection vehicle is fitted with four cameras — front, rear and sides — to assist drivers with their vision
  • reverse sensor technology on all vehicles
  • daily inspections of vehicles, including tyre inspection
  • servicing of all collection vehicles at 100 and 400 completed engine hours
  • an approved independent contractor conducts an annual audit/inspection of the entire East Waste collection fleet.

 

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