United Rentals Adds Battery-Energy Systems for Tower Cranes

How a Canadian contractor found a significant benefit from utilizing a generator to power battery-powered tower crane.

United Rentals Adds Battery-Powered Tower Cranes
United Rentals

In a collaboration with Termaco, United Rentals has announced that it has added battery energy systems for tower cranes to its North American rental fleet as part of the company's low and zero-emission solutions. The system was developed to provide a clean, sustainable power that should enable contractors to reduce fuel consumption and equipment-related downtime while achieving quieter, lower emissions jobsites. 

According to the announcement, the system is configurable up to 500kW and designed to operate alongside a generator to deliver reliable power to support tower crane operations. It minimizes generator run time by storing energy in batteries and running on battery power whenever possible. For smaller applications, the battery unit can be powered by solar panels to create a completely emission-free solution. This allows a contractor to significantly downsize the generator and dramatically reduce generator run time and emissions, while still meeting peak power demands.

“Battery energy systems for tower cranes provide a great application of practical sustainability on the jobsite by helping contractors address their economic and environmental goals,” says Larry Worthington, Region Vice President, Power and HVAC, United Rentals. “This solution demonstrates United Rentals’ commitment to bringing innovative products to market that deliver outstanding value to our customers.”

General contracting firm Award Construction, based in Alberta, Canada, pioneered the use of the battery energy system to fully power an 8-ton, 70-meter-tall tower crane at Riverbank Landing, a 20-acre planned mixed-use community being built in Edmonton.

At the project, Award went from running a 300kVA T4 generator 24 hours a day to power its tower crane, to charging the battery energy system with a 100kW generator for just two and a half hours a day and operating the crane solely on battery power. Generator run time was reduced by 91%, which resulted in a fuel and emissions reduction of approximately 80%. 

“Sustainable building aligns with our company’s core values. We are proud our Riverbank Landing construction site is making history as one of the first in Canada to fully power its site tower crane entirely by battery,” says Brian Hennessey, Construction Manager, Award Construction.