Accelerating the rollout of charging infrastructure for electrical autos with trenchless expertise

The ability to power passenger cars with renewable energy is an exciting prospect as traffic is Australia’s single largest source of emissions, but the technology faces a significant speed bump in terms of charging infrastructure availability. While Australia’s enormous size poses challenges for the introduction of charging infrastructure, trenchless technology can accelerate that process by offering a cost-effective and sustainable solution for installing charging stations.

The expansion of the e-mobility infrastructure brings enormous challenges, not only for energy suppliers and manufacturers of charging technology, but also for governments and consumers.

In order to prevent the lack of charging infrastructure from becoming an obstacle to the adoption of electric vehicles (EV) and to ensure that Australia can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, rapid expansion of the nationwide charging infrastructure is urgently needed.

Several projects and trials improve access to efficient charging stations. The $ 15 million Chargefox Electric Vehicle Charging Network Project spans five states and includes 22 locations on major transportation routes.

After receiving $ 6 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the project began in October 2018 and the final station was completed in January 2021.

Expanding this network means EV drivers can travel between some major Australian cities without risking a dead battery, and since it is powered entirely by locally generated renewable energy, it has minimal impact on the existing electricity network.

However, Australia still has limited public charging options and more needs to be done to bridge the charging infrastructure gap to enable long distance electric car travel and reduce range anxiety.

Trenchless technology offers an intelligent, economical and sustainable solution for the rapid installation of the infrastructure of charging stations for electric vehicles.

In contrast to the classic open construction method, trenchless construction eliminates the need to dig up the surface along the entire pipe or cable route.

The main advantages of trenchless work are:

• Valuable areas and resources are conserved as there is no need for costly excavation and renovation work

• Minimal impact on residents and companies due to fewer traffic obstructions and less building area

• Short construction and set-up times enable more efficiency and adherence to deadlines

• Significantly lower direct and indirect costs compared to open construction

• Trenchless construction methods help to preserve the environment and potential wildlife habitats and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, fuel consumption and noise pollution

• Reliable and compliant construction that has been tried and tested for decades

When you consider that civil engineering accounts for 80 percent of the costs of conventional underground infrastructure installation projects, the savings potential is easy to imagine if surfaces and resources can be protected through the use of minimally invasive trenchless technologies.

Increasing the spread of electric vehicles (EVs) is an important way to ensure that the federal and state governments can achieve their climate goals.

It is all the more sensible if the construction itself is ecologically sensible and less disruptive and does not lead to a further deterioration in the environmental balance of a municipality.

In addition to the economic and environmental benefits of trenchless technology, its nominal impact can make a huge contribution to the general adoption of electric vehicles in the population – this is important when you consider that Australia lags behind many of its international counterparts in electric vehicle sales.

An economical and environmentally friendly construction

Intelligent trenchless solutions are not only economical when installing multiple charging points, but also when building individual charging points; Different systems and processes are used depending on the type and length of the individual connections to the distribution network, the capacity and the number of charging points.

The trenchless technology offers a quick and easy burial of the protective tubes for power and control cables from the connection point (sub-distribution) to the charging station and between the charging stations.

With the minimally invasive keyhole technology, the excavation can be used as the foundation of the charging station and trenchless methods are suitable for almost all types of soil, including rock.

House connections for the power supply of the charging stations can also be laid without trenches, the range of applications can also be used at charging points in hotels, shopping centers or on the street, as well as cables for large triple chargers, e.g. stations.

The German manufacturer TRACTO-TECHNIK develops, builds and sells machines and accessories for underground installation and the trenchless renewal of pipelines.

These trenchless technology solutions are used in the construction of pipeline networks for water, sewer, gas, electricity, telecommunications, district heating and fiber optic networks.

With the GRUNDOMAT soil displacement hammer, the entire range of services can be installed and renewed without trenching.

One of the highlights of the TRACTO-TECHNIK horizontal directional drilling machine family is the GRUNDODRILL 18ACS, which works highly efficiently in changing soils as well as in the hardest rock and offers significantly reduced operating costs and construction times compared to comparable drilling rigs.

The cost pressure in civil engineering led to the development of another TRACTO-TECHNIK innovation: the award-winning GRUNDOPIT K, with which building technology connections can be laid, repaired and renewed via a keyhole access pit with a maximum diameter of only 650 mm.

The new GRUNDOPIT PS40 is designed to meet the challenge of developing the urban subway network and, thanks to its slim design, is ideal for use in inner-city areas.

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