In two years, January 2019 will mark the latest development in off-road exhaust emission regulations when the European Stage V standard is introduced for engines with power outputs of less than 56kW and more than 130kW – those between these two power levels will have to comply 12 months later. As this will eventually affect all new self-propelled farm machines, engine technology is expected to be a hot topic at Agritechnica 2017.
The world’s leading engine manufacturers will be taking part in Systems & Components, a special show within Agritechnica that provides an international platform for highlighting the latest developments in engines, transmissions, hydraulics and other parts for agricultural machinery and related industries. This will allow them to put their engine solutions in front of everyone with an interest in the forthcoming changes, from the major tractor manufacturers to individual farmers wanting to know how the new technology might affect their tractor operating costs.
“Engines are core to any tractor or self-propelled vehicle,” says Raffaele Talarico, the project manager for Systems & Components. “This makes them an important part of our special show, and emission legislation is clearly a key area for these companies. Systems & Components is the ideal platform to explore the different emissions reduction strategies, and farmers can also look at engines in close detail.”
The new Stage V standard was introduced into European Union (EU) legislation in September 2016, and further tightens exhaust emission rules under a process that began in the mid-1990s and saw the first Stage I engines appear on farms in about 1999. Compared to the Stage I standard, the latest Stage V engines achieve a 94% cut in the mono-nitrogen oxides NO and NO2 (NOx) and hydrocarbons it produces, and a 98% reduction in the amount of soot, otherwise known as particulate matter (PM).
Stage V is mainly being introduced to further reduce PM, but for the first time there will also be a limit on the number of particles emitted (PN). This will force engine manufacturers to focus on the very small particles that are currently released into the atmosphere.
The past 20 years have seen a succession of new engine technologies introduced to deal with the ever-tightening emissions standards. This has brought several new engine-related parts and concepts into the public consciousness, including diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC), diesel particulate filters (DPF), exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR). To meet Stage V, most engines will use all these technologies.
Level playing field for all manufacturers
Andreas Ai, who is manager for Tractor & Vehicle Technology at the DLG’s Test Center for Technology and Farm Inputs, says that all manufacturers are operating on a level playing field by having to meet the same standards to sell their tractors and self-propelled vehicles in Europe.
“The engine makers and tractor manufacturers have faced a heavy investment program in the past 30 years to design and build engines that were able to meet the increasingly stringent emissions rules,” he says. “But they had no choice if they wanted to sell their machines in the EU.
“What we can say is that today’s agricultural machines have a lower impact on the environment for each kW of power they produce,” Ai adds. “And with the first mainstream battery-powered vehicles – charged from renewable power generated on-site – starting to appear on farms, the level of damaging emissions may well keep on reducing without further changes to diesel engine emissions regulations.”