Sweepers keep our pavements, paths and roads clean. The energy for the operation of all the components is currently provided by a diesel engine; a sophisticated hydraulic distribution system guides the relevant share of the energy to the various components.
A German study has estimated that the contribution of such working vehicles, e.g. road sweepers, municipal vehicles, dustbin lorries, etc., to the energy consumption of all road traffic is as high as 15 percent, despite the actual number of such vehicles being relatively small. Bucher Municipal is based in Niederweningen in Switzerland and is the European market leader in compact sweeping vehicles. Empa and ETH Zürich carry out research on future powertrain technologies. As part of a project supported by CTI, Commission for Technology and Innovation, the partners have developed an innovative powertrain for road sweepers. Compared to a conventional diesel-powered road sweeper, the electric hybrid sweeper driven by natural gas consumes less than half as much energy during the standard cycle for sweeping vehicles. Thanks to the lower carbon content in natural gas, the CO2 emissions have decreased by as much as 60 percent, and with biogas blending this effect is even higher.