HS2 to be powered by zero carbon energy from day one
New HS2 trains will be powered by zero carbon energy from the first day of services, offering a cleaner alternative to long distance car journeys and domestic flights, while supporting the government’s 2050 target to tackle climate change.
This commitment from HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson MP will play a key part in HS2’s aim to make the project net zero carbon from 2035, alongside plans to make construction sites diesel-free by 2029 and to halve emissions from steel and concrete by 2030.
Net Zero Carbon Plan
HS2’s Net Zero Carbon Plan sets out how HS2 will achieve new carbon reduction milestones, support the decarbonisation of the UK construction sector and reduce the carbon footprint of the programme.
Major new targets include aiming for diesel-free construction sites by 2029, with the first one expected in 2022 and carbon emissions from steel and concrete will be reduced by 50% by 2030 compared with 2021 levels. To help achieve this, HS2 is collaborating with research organisations to accelerate innovation in low carbon technologies, such as alternative fuels and renewable energy.
From 2035, HS2 will reduce carbon emissions as much as possible and make those that cannot be eliminated net zero by using natural or technological methods, known as carbon offsetting. This means HS2 will remove the same level of emissions that are produced as it builds, maintains and operates HS2.
Achieving carbon zero
HS2 will work towards being zero carbon from 2035 through a number of new targets, including:
- Using 100% zero carbon electricity generation to power its trains – making journeys on HS2 zero carbon for emissions from ‘day one’
- Introducing the first diesel-free site in 2022 – and stop using diesel on all sites by 2029.
- Working with supply chain partners and industry peers to set ambitious new science-based targets in 2022 to tackle carbon emission ‘hotspots’ year-on-year as HS2 is built.
- Cutting emissions from concrete and steel by 50% by 2030 compared with 2021 levels.
- Investing in innovation and forming partnerships to speed up ways to cut emissions in HS2’s supply chain.
- Cutting emissions from sources HS2 owns or controls and indirect emissions from electricity production.
- Offsetting residual carbon emissions that cannot be eliminated as HS2 is built, maintained and operated from 2035. This includes looking at ways to capture and store carbon emissions using nature-based interventions such as planting new trees to absorb carbon dioxide.
Interchange station in Solihull
HS2 is working with the supply chain and research organisations to pilot and implement low carbon materials, alternative fuels, renewable energy and new construction methods through the HS2 Innovation programme. There are currently 32 innovative projects across the programme with projected savings of 1.6 million tonnes of carbon emissions.
Design highlights include:
- Cutting carbon emissions by 45% by redesigning the Chilterns tunnel south portal.
- Interchange station in Solihull becoming the first railway station in the world to achieve BREEAM ‘outstanding’ for its eco-friendly design.
- Redesigning the roof at Old Oak Common station, west London, to reduce the amount of steel by 27%, cutting embodied carbon.
- Cutting the amount of concrete and steel needed to build the Wendover Dean viaduct, Buckinghamshire, saving 7,433 tonnes of carbon – equivalent to 20,500 return flights from London to Edinburgh.
- Reducing the depth of the paving in the public realm at Curzon Street station by 38% to cut embodied carbon.
HS2 is pioneering the UK’s first electric forklift at a major London construction site
Construction highlights include:
- Trials of a new low carbon concrete product that cuts carbon emissions by 42% compared with standard concrete.
- A world-first pilot scheme using recycled wind turbine blades to reinforce concrete – cutting carbon emissions for reinforcement by up to 90%.
- Using 3D reinforced concrete printing onsite, cutting quantities of concrete, reducing carbon emission by up to 50% and cutting deliveries by truck.
- Pioneering the UK’s first electric forklift at a major construction site – achieving the same performance as a conventional model with zero emissions.
- Using Clean Air Gas Engine technology, initially in site welfare units, to cut carbon on construction sites.