VolkerWessels has developed a technology which allows nitrogen emissions produced by large, mainly stationary equipment during the construction phase of projects to be reduced by as much as 99%. The prototype of the solution has already been tested at various sites. The operation and performance of the technology have been validated by an accredited air monitoring service as being in accordance with NEN and ISO standards. VolkerWessels expects to be able to make similar filter technology available for mobile machinery in the near future.
Initiator of the technological innovation and VolkerWessels director Eric Pot:
“The NoNOx filter comprises a number of proven technological components. Smart linking of these technologies enables the filter to do its work and thus reduce emissions of nitrogen during the construction phase by up to 99%. The filter works by converting the NOx in the exhaust fumes into non-harmful substances. Designed to be plug and play the NoNOx filter is easy to use in practical situations, with the filter attached directly to the equipment by means of a flexible connection."
VolkerWessels COO Alfred Vos:
“The NoNOx filter is unique and highly sustainable because it can be used with all existing equipment in the Dutch market, even older equipment. This removes the need to sell existing machinery to markets outside the Netherlands or destroy it, which obviously does not contribute towards a genuinely sustainable solution. Thanks to this technology projects that have been put on hold as a result of the emissions issue may be able to go ahead again. With this innovation VolkerWessels is taking its responsibility within its direct sphere of influence and waits with interest to see how the government is going to address the issue of nitrogen during the use phase.”
The NoNOx filter unit can be attached to the exhausts of existing diesel equipment. Being mounted in a generator frame the unit is particularly suited for use with stationary and low-mobility equipment such as generators, drilling frames, pile-driving rigs and construction cranes. It is less suitable for high-mobility equipment such as excavators, asphalt spreaders, loaders and dumpers. VolkerWessels has reached an advanced stage in the development of a smaller NoNOx unit which is suitable for highly mobile equipment.
Integrated Approach to Nitrogen in the Netherlands
The Dutch government introduced the Integrated Approach to Nitrogen (Programma Aanpak Stikstof-PAS) in 2015. PAS was used as a basis for issuing permits for construction projects involving nitrogen deposition in vulnerable natural areas known as Natura 2000 sites. The European Court of Justice ruled that PAS was not compatible with EU law, specifically the Habitats Directive, a decision upheld by the Dutch Council of State at the end of the May 2019. This resulted in thousands of projects in the Netherlands suddenly having to be put on hold. Some of these projects could be resumed by sharply reducing nitrogen emissions during the construction phase. In order to realise the required reduction even the nitrogen from clean, new diesel engines will need to be removed. In other words, simply investing in new equipment will not resolve the problem that has arisen. And so VolkerWessels got straight to work on finding a solution for the construction phase. We have called this partial solution the NoNOx filter.