Deutz develops natural gas-powered tractor

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A natural gas engine developed by Deutz for tractors went on display at the Organic Field Days show this week in Germany.

As part of a joint research project with the University of Rostock, Deutz built the engine in an effort to further study the protection and sustainable use of natural resources. Deutz engineers converted a diesel engine to run on natural gas and then were able to successfully install it in a tractor made by Same Deutz-Fahr, another project partner.

The aim was to reduce pollutants and CO? emissions without losing any performance. Natural gas burns much more cleanly than either petrol or diesel and produces substantially lower nitrogen oxide emissions, CO? and particulates. The converted engine was proved to produce 24% fewer harmful emissions.

A Deutz TCD 3.6, a particularly compact 4-cylinder inline engine with an output of 50kW to 90kW and a maximum torque of 480 Nm, was used for the project. Converting the engine to run on natural gas required several major component adaptations. The self-igniting diesel injectors first had to be replaced with a spark ignition system, and the pistons and cylinder head had to undergo mechanical adjustments.

The crucial element, however, was analyzing the combustion process in the gas engine. The result is a fully functional experimental tractor that has already clocked up 500 operating hours in the fields of the Thünen Institute of Organic Farming in Trenthorst in Germany.

The tractor was unveiled at the first Organic Field Days show, which took place on June 21 and 22 at the Hessian State Domain Frankenhausen, a teaching and research farm in North Hessen, Germany, which is owned by the University of Kessel.

June 23, 2017

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Tom is editor of ivtinternational.com and iVT magazine. During his 20 year career in journalism Tom has worked for a diverse range of titles including Men's Health and Cosmopolitan. He also edits iVT's UKi Media & Events stablemate Traffic Technology International.

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