Demonstrating lower emissions and higher efficiency through innovative hydraulic systems in demolition machinery

Reference: LIFE20 ENV/SK/000392 | Acronym: LIFE PowerCylinder



In power transmission mechanics, hydraulic systems are unique due to their high-power density and compactness. Piston pumps, a key element in hydraulic systems, are widely used due to their high working pressure and large flow. They represent the biggest market share among hydraulics and are projected to reach 36 million units globally in 2023. Original equipment manufacturers of heavy-duty machinery are facing global competition and strict environmental regulations that demand technologies that are more efficient. The construction sector is responsible for over a third of global energy consumption and nearly 40% of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions. Moreover, heavy-duty machines operate in harsh environments and face aggressive loading conditions over a long running time.

Hydraulic cylinders play a key role in meeting the demand for technological upgrades and compliance with environmental standards. While the low-pressure hydraulic cylinders are bulky, fully high-pressure systems are inefficient because full power is not needed all the time and in all work functions. State-of-the-art solutions incorporate external pressure amplifiers adding system complexity, raising costs and increasing energy consumption.

Additionally, hydraulic systems use large amounts of harmful hydraulic fluids. Although sealing technologies have advanced considerably over the past 30 years, the development of hydraulic system operating pressures and response times has led to greater leakage. It is estimated that 370 million liters of oil leak from hydraulic equipment every year.


The main goal of LIFE-PowerCylinder is to demonstrate lower emissions and higher efficiency through innovative, downscaled hydraulic systems in demolition machinery. The beneficiary will manufacture various types of Cartridge Amplifier, which will be installed in hydraulic cylinders produced by Idraulica Sighinolfi Srl. Mantovanibenne Srl as end-user will integrate the Power Cylinders into its demolition attachments for final testing.

Specifically, the project aims to:

  • Align the design of the different components for optimal functioning and efficiency;
  • Integrate the Power Cylinder into different types of demolition tool excavator attachments such as crushers, rotating pulverisers and fixed pulverisers, realising six prototypes, with two different sizes of each tool;
  • Demonstrate Power Cylinder technology on an artificial test site under controlled conditions and on real demolition sites (for 50 hours per attachment; total 300 hours);
  • Evaluate the optimisation potential and validate the technology;
  • Monitor all relevant environmental and health parameters, such as the reduction of fuel consumption, resource efficiency, oil consumption, noise, dust and safety;
  • Facilitate four replications during the project and prepare a strategy for further replications;
  • Prepare the transfer of Cartridge Amplifiers from high-flow to low-flow cylinders and demonstrate the adaptability to other applications (which will allow Power Cylinders to be integrated into smaller devices, thus significantly boosting the beneficial environmental impacts); and
  • Promote the increase of operational safety for the workers to trade associations, insurance associations, manufacturers and construction/demolition companies.

The project will contribute to reach the EU climate action targets, along with the European Green Deal, the Waste Framework Directive and directives concerning health and safety. It is also in line with EU regulation on requirements relating to gaseous and particulate pollutant emission limits and type-approval for internal combustion engines for non-road mobile machinery.



Expected results:

Technical and economic:

  • Faster and stronger cartridge amplifiers, which act like an automatic gearshift, increasing cylinder force only when needed  (Power cylinder is up to 50% faster and generates 37% more force than a conventional cylinder with the same weight);
  • Demonstration that the cylinders can be implemented in smaller devices (size can be reduced by 50%);
  • Elimination of mechanical equipment failures due to the removal of high-pressure external parts – and thus no maintenance required;
  • Cost-effectiveness increased to 50% on standard hydraulic cylinders – a 1kg weight reduction in the cylinder leads to a material cost saving of €10-15;
  • Easier installation of Power Cylinder compared to external amplification solutions;  and
  • Around 30 jobs created – four before the end of the project and 26 by 2029.


  • 15-20% reduction of overall energy consumption and increased tool performance since a higher force can be faster applied only when needed;
  • 10% increase in speed, while tools with integrated Power Cylinder will do the same job with smaller excavators resulting in less fuel consumption and 6.2 t CO2 reduction during demonstration phase; 
  • Reduced use of materials: the amplification ratio, from 2 up to 2.8, allows a reduced rod diameter and lower weight (up to 15% reduction for CA300 of around 67 kg steel per cylinder) and size (up to 50% reduction) without giving up the needed workforce;
  • Reduced weight due to downscaling the complete hydraulic system (smaller pumps, tanks, hoses, valves etc.), while keeping the same force of non-road mobile machines – leading to greater material, resource and CO2 savings;
  • Potential for future integration of the Cartridge Amplifier into smaller devices powered by batteries due to downsizing of the hydraulic system; 
  • 10% reduction of overall noise pollution due to 10% faster job completion;
  • 7% less dust development though more effective demolition works;
  • Safer and more reliable Power Cylinder due to the lack of high-pressure hoses and connections.


Reference: LIFE20 ENV/SK/000392
Acronym: LIFE PowerCylinder
Start Date: 01/09/2021
End Date: 31/08/2024
Total Budget: 2,898,799 €
EU Contribution: 1,360,182 €
Project Location:


Coordinating Beneficiary: PistonPower S.R.O
Legal Status: PCO
Address: Kucinova 2148-84, 01701, Povazska Bystrica, Slovakia Slovensko
Contact Person: Michal Miciak
Tel: 491716425543

LIFE Project Map



  • Energy efficiency


  • energy saving
  • industrial process
  • energy efficiency
  • manufacturing industry


  • Directive 75/442/EEC -"Waste framework directive" (15.07.1975)


Name Type
PPG(PistonPower GmbH), Germany Participant
SIG(Idraulica Sighinolfi Albano srl), Italy Participant
MBI(Mantovanibenne srl), Italy Participant
PistonPower s.r.o Coordinator