Hybrid Excavators and More: Oak Ridge’s Ambitious Pursuits in Sustainability

Addition of hybrid equipment that breaks ground would be groundbreaking for Oak Ridge cleanup

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — Developing more sustainable ways to perform work is a continuous focus on DOE’s Oak Ridge Reservation.

Employees recently conducted a demonstration of this hybrid excavator at the East Tennessee Technology Park. The equipment offers more efficiency, and it also operates much more quietly than current equipment.

The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) and contractor UCOR made major contributions to help EM reach last year’s goal to bring at least 150 electric vehicles to the cleanup program’s fleet.

This year, OREM and UCOR have their sights set on bigger goals and bigger vehicles.

Previous initiatives focused on passenger fleet vehicles and computer equipment. Now, UCOR is exploring ways to introduce more sustainable equipment to field operations.

Team members just performed a demonstration of a hybrid excavator, and UCOR is considering adding it to the equipment lineup. The excavator has both a diesel and electric engine. The concept is similar to a hybrid car, but as the equipment rotates, a swinging movement charges the electric motor.

“This piece of technology enhances production and embodies sustainability, and the workers really like using it,” said Leah Beckworth, UCOR environmental compliance and sustainability manager.’

The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management’s projects at the East Tennessee Technology Park have involved substantial excavation. That work is scheduled to be completed this year, but much more remains at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex in the years ahead.

She also points out that the hybrid excavator provides an extra safety feature because it operates much more quietly than conventional heavy equipment.

UCOR performed the demonstration at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), where crews are completing major soil remediation efforts requiring a great deal of excavation.

Finishing soil remediation projects there is an EM priority for 2024, and there is much more work ahead at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex requiring heavy equipment.

“One of the things that struck me the most is the efficiency,” said Jimmy Hughes, area project manager for the ETTP enterprise. “Often these machines are considered the one-trick pony of being more sustainable. But with the instant power ability as well as the more efficient swinging ability of this machine, it would equate into our crews being able to load debris and move it offsite quicker.” The contractor’s equipment vendor is working to get some hybrid machines added to its lease fleet. With the positive results of the demonstration, officials say leasing this type of equipment in the future is likely.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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