Portable batteries prove to be significantly more sustainable than combustions generators. Explore the data that backs this up


The Challenge

Air quality has become an urgent issue in European cities, which are struggling to reduce pollutants. Until today, most activities are dedicated to reducing impact from cars, however, also construction machinery emit the equivalent of hundreds of kilometers of a driving car every hour.

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Construction machinery includes not only excavators and other heavy machines but also hand-held tools and small petrol or diesel generators. Small portable engines <19kW are very common, especially in construction, gardening and landscaping. Generators are still mostly without clean alternatives but contribute disproportionally to the emissions due to low standards, idling and oversizing. Oversizing is needed for starting the load, and idling occurs from workflow interruptions, external conditions, and negligence.

The environmental authorities of the EU and the US (EEA and EPA) ascertain that the few construction machines (compared to no. of cars) are responsible for as much as 15-20% of the emissions in the cities.

The Solution

We piloted zero-emission battery-driven power-supplies for professional use to replace diesel driven generators for work on construction sites. Pilot lasted for 12 months, from June 2021 to June 2022. The objective was to calculate how much local emissions can be reduced in the Cities.

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Mobile electric power supply is needed in construction sites, at outdoor workplaces, for work in the underground and in remote areas, for emergency aid and industrial applications all over the world. Hence, there is a missing link between the need to reduce emissions from generators and ensuring off-grid energy to the people. A zero-emission battery-driven power-supply for professional use provides this for the first time. Moreover, it brings battery-powered small equipment to full benefit, which often needs to be charged more than once a day. Substituting fuel-driven generators with battery systems reduces local air pollution and enhance peoples’ health and quality of life. Taken the whole life cycle emissions and other types than renewable energy during use into account, the battery solution is advantageous.

Life flag

Piloting clean power supply devices in construction and urban green care to reduce emissions from portable machines (LIFE CLEANAIRMM – LIFE18 ENV/DE/000054)

About the project

The project “Piloting clean power supply devices in construction and urban green care to reduce emissions from portable machines” is co-financed by the EU through the LIFE Program. The LIFE program is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. Our project was accepted as a part of the climate action in the areas of energy efficiency and further development of related environmental policies within the cities within the European Union. Duration of the project was from September 2019 to June 2022, you can find news and summary reports of the actions on this page. The reporting and progress of this project was followed by EU Life Neemo Climate Change monitoring team.


  • to pilot 100 portable Battery-Power Supply Systems (BPSS) in the European cities to substitute conventional fuel driven generators.

  • to validate the large-scale use of this technology for the power supply of small electric machines (e.g. plate compactors, grinders, stone cutting machines, welders, demolition hammers, lighting, etc.).

  • to promote the use of clean power supply instead of fuel driven generators (diesel/petrol) and to significantly reduce local emissions from construction and green care in urban areas.

  • to increase visibility, acceptance and willingness-to-buy in the industry.

  • to influence green City procurement practices within the cities in EU.

 Man spreading arms on the street


Environmental benefits and results were calculated versus a common fuel generator at a size of 3-5kW for professional use. Such generators typically use 2.23 liters of fuel (petrol or diesel) causing well-to-wheel emissions of 6,8kg CO2-eq per day. By using Battery-Power Supply System instead of the generators the local emissions are cut to zero. The summary of the results is in the Laymans report.

Man and woman jogging outside


HLNUG logo

The Hessian Agency for Nature Conservation, Environment and Geology (HLNUG) provides professional expertise for nearly all issues concerning water, soil and air and is acknowledged as a reliable and competent partner working with numerous projects across the EU, in cooperation with universities and companies. As a technical and scientific authority, HLNUG is in charge of environmental monitoring and advising ministries and other authorities in Germany and abroad.

In this project HLNUG is in charge of recording, collection, processing and evaluation of environmental data. Based on the evaluated data, HLNUG advises authorities as well as enterprises and develop concepts and recommendations.

Construction Companies

The following construction companies participated in the pilot test of the instagrid portable battery power systems. Total of 90 units were distributed among the participating 12 companies across 7 countries (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Poland).

YIT logo
Wayss & Freytag logo
 groep Van Roey Logo
 Uhrig Group Logo
 SWLB logo
Strabag logo
Skanska logo
Rutte Logo
Markus-Veekens Logo
KWS Logo
 Gebr.Beentjes Logo



This section lists all the events and workshops dedicated to the project.