Green machine breaks new ground in Jersey

People living and working near the new International Finance Site Number 6 office block being built on the Esplanade should welcome the arrival in Jersey of a revolutionary new construction device. Local company BGR Ltd has brought a battery powered piling rig to the island, one of only a handful presently available worldwide. As well as being much kinder on the environment, the 59-ton rotary drilling rig operates at significantly lower noise levels than fossil fuel-powered equivalents.  

Piling rigs are used in the early stages of many construction projects depending on ground conditions to help create a solid structural base upon which buildings stand. Approaches to this include boring deep holes to be filled with reinforced concrete or hammering pre-cast steel or concrete piles into the ground.

Both methods traditionally use heavy, diesel-powered machinery for the task, with often noisy consequences for anyone living or based near the construction site and those working there.

The Liebherr LB-16 Unplugged is the modern alternative to environmentally friendly piling rigs. As its name suggests, this drilling machine is the world’s first to be powered solely by batteries, which like most electric vehicles, are charged-up overnight. The benefits, as underlined by local building foundation specialists BGR, are welcome.

Despite advances in piling technology, fundamental methods for powering the required machinery have remained broadly the same,’ comments company MD Adrian Tett, ‘which can be challenging, particularly when used in built-up areas.

‘As well as being far more environmentally sustainable, the new Liebherr battery-powered rig we have brought to Jersey minimises this at times unwelcome noise disruption. It is cutting edge – there are only five presently in the world and we are delighted to trial such an exciting modern alternative to fossil fuel-powered piling rigs in Jersey.’

The company plans to employ the piling rig on the new International Finance Centre IFC6 building, with work starting imminently. The 59-ton zero-emission machine, which can operate for 10 hours on one charge, also features the latest in advanced operator control and comfort systems.

As part of an agreement, both the manufacturer and BGR will monitor its performance while in Jersey, with results helping to shape future use of the new machine.

For BGR, which began trading in the Channel Islands in 2021, being able to trial the Liebherr LB-16 Unplugged is a logical next step on the company’s development. Founded with a commitment to modernise approaches to foundation construction technology and techniques, the company is keen to employ its global awareness and connections in a local context.

‘Globally, the construction industry is embracing sustainability and moving towards more environmentally sound approaches to building projects,’ Mr Tett confirms. ‘This aligns with significant developments in the technology available for construction, the materials used and techniques employed. BGR’s mission is about bringing those approaches and developments to Jersey – for everyone’s benefit. This exciting new piece of machinery is definitely part of a much bigger picture.’