Work has begun on new manufacturing plant outside Edinburgh which will create new jobs – and enable Scotland to become a world-leader in a low-carbon technology which will radically reduce fuel use and emissions in off-road vehicles, trucks and trains.
Last month Danish tech giant Danfoss took a majority share in Scots hydraulic specialists Artemis Intelligent Power – and today work starts on their new £multi-million facility, to be built alongside Artemis’s existing Loanhead base.
The new 1500 square metre plant will manufacture high-tech digital hydraulic pumps and motors for off-road vehicles – utilising Artemis’s Digital Displacement technology – where it is estimated they will reduce vehicle emissions by more than half.
The project will create more than 30 skilled jobs initially, and Danfoss predicts the export-led business will be worth £100 million annually within a decade, with up to 200 further jobs to come.
“Our first goal is for Artemis technology to be a key component in the $3.5 billion off-road vehicle hydraulic machinery market,” says Eric Bretey, Director, Digital Displacement at Danfoss, who heads up the Danfoss Scotland business.
“Vehicle manufacturers are asking for reliable, cost-effective solutions to reduce environmental impact and increase productivity, and Digital Displacement technology will provide just that.
“We estimate the emissions reduction of each Digital Displacement excavator will be the equivalent to taking 18 diesel family cars off the road. It is a technology which increases efficiency, reduces cost and pays for itself very quickly,” Bretey says.
Earlier this year, a consortium comprising Danfoss and Artemis secured £11 million from the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK to help develop Digital Displacement technology, alongside Scottish firm Robbie Fluid Engineering.
“The support of the Advanced Propulsion Centre has been an important catalyst in our collaboration in the off-road sector and underscores our decision to make this major investment in the UK. In the years ahead, these pumps will become a core component in any off-road machine which utilises hydraulic power, and there is enormous potential in other sectors too,” Bretey concludes.
In the off-road market, the impact of digital displacement could be significant. In Greater London, for example, off-road mobile machinery currently contributes ten percent of all NOx emissions and 11 percent of all PM10 emissions. Even with modest adoption rates, the technology is forecast to make CO2 savings of ten million tonnes globally over the first ten years of commercial operation.
Artemis Managing Director Niall Caldwell says:
“It’s not enough to invent new technologies in the UK – we also need to manufacture here and export around the world, and this is what this Danfoss investment will enable. We are also very grateful to the Advanced Propulsion Centre for their support and to Scottish Enterprise for their backing over many years.
“Our technology was first developed in the University of Edinburgh and we have successfully piloted Digital Displacement in trains, trucks, wind turbines and industry, and in each sector it offers massive potential to increase efficiency and reduce cost.
“In the coming months and years we will help Danfoss develop commercial products for each of these sectors, but today the focus is on the off-road market.
“Ultimately, the Digital Displacement off-road vehicles of the future will have smaller engines, be cheaper to run and use less than half the energy – whether that energy comes from fossil fuel, hydrogen, biogas or batteries. It is a technology that pays for itself, requires no sales subsidy and will make a very positive impact on the environment,” Caldwell concludes.
Paul Lewis, Managing Director of International Operations, Scottish Enterprise, said:
“As a long-standing supporter of the research carried out by Artemis Intelligent Power, we welcome Danfoss’s investment in the company and are thrilled to see work begin on its new Loanhead facility. Establishing high-value manufacturing bases for technologies geared towards reducing emissions can help cement Scotland’s position as a leading player in the global transition to a low-carbon economy, attract significant further investment and aid the creation of a highly-skilled modern workforce.
“It’s gratifying to think that Artemis’ technology can be utilised the world over to mitigate the threat of climate change. The company is poised to break into a multi-billion-pound market that could have a transformational impact on its business, the economy of Scotland, and the global environment.”