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Clean power drive for engine sector

First publishedin World Highways
April2019
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The prototype hybrid powertrain from Deutz has been developed in partnership with Manitou for use in telehandlers

The drive to lower engine emissions is delivering cleaner power solutions – Mike Woof writes

The development of cleaner motive power systems is delivering some innovative solutions for the market. The Stage V emissions requirements for diesels in Europe have resulted in engine firms offering a whole new generation of powerplants.

The latest generation of diesel engines offer far lower levels of tailpipe emissions than previous models. New engines produce just a fraction of the NOx or particulates of diesels offered just 10-15 years ago.

Additionally, firms are offering a range of low emission solutions for the drivelines market, in addition to the new diesels. These suppliers are keen to give their customers choices for power units that best suit applications and market needs.

Electric motor systems are available for some market segments, particularly suiting duties in smaller rental machines for the construction sector such as hand-controlled compaction tools or mini excavators.

At the same time, gas-fuelled engine options are also being made available by an increasing number of suppliers. Proven technology is merging with advanced systems to offer low emission, internal combustion engines for a wide range of duties, including construction applications.

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Kohler's hybrid unit is extremely compact

Hybrid power solutions are also becoming more widely available, with lower fuel consumption in addition to reduced emissions.

Cummins, Deutz and Volvo Penta have been amongst the leaders in developing their electric power options.

Cummins has announced it prototype, all-electric mini excavator, which is based on a Hyundai model. Power comes from a Li-ion battery pack comprising eight of the firm’s BM4.4E units. The battery modules provide 4.4kWh apiece and give a total of 35kWh, sufficient power for the machine to work for a full shift. A full recharge takes three hours and the system is said to offer a high energy density and proprietary control technology to maintain battery charge for a longer zero emission range.

Deutz has been working with Manitou on developing an electric telehandler, with a prototype. The two firms have been carrying out prototype testing under real-life working conditions to evaluate performance.

Volvo CE has announced it will be offering electric power machines for its compact equipment segment, with the technology being developed by sister firm Volvo Penta.

Other construction machinery firms that have recently introduced electric powered compact equipment include Bobcat and JCB, while Wacker Neuson has been steadily expanding its offering of electric compact machines.

Various firms are now offering new engines with gas fuels, such as LPG, propane or even hydrogen.

Deutz now has LPG variants of its three- cylinder TCD2.2 and four-cylinder TCD 2.9 engines, called the G 2.2 and G2.9 and with power ranges of 22-56kW and 30-75kW respectively. The firm also has a hydrogen-fuelled variant of its TCD 7.8 engine.

From Kubota comes a range of fuel types for its engines, including LPG and methane, with the further option of dual fuel.

Similarly, Yanmar also has its 4TN88G and 4TN98G engines, which run on LPG and offer maximum outputs of 45kW and 63kW respectively. These engines all offer low emissions and can meet the new European Stage V requirements, as well as the Tier 4 Final and Tier 2 regulations for some territories.

FPT Industrial has developed its new Cursor X engine with sister firm, CNH Design Centre. FPT says that the engine can adapt to provide the most suitable solution for the customer’s business, whether based on natural gas internal combustion, hydrogen fuel cell electric generation, or on battery-stored energy. This range allows combinations from pure electric to parallel and serial hybrid, utilising a modular architecture that is intended to allow easy assembly, vehicle integration, servicing and full scalability.

New hybrid solutions from FPT Industrial, Kohler and Kubota are said to reduce both emissions and fuel consumption in construction machine installations. And Perkins is working on hybrid solutions, with three systems due to be launched shortly.

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Cummins has developed an all-electric powertrain, which is installed in a Hyundai mini excavator

FPT Industrial offers new solutions for different needs; the E-Axle, the Transfer Box and a mild hybrid system. The Compact E-Axle transfers power and torque to the wheels through the gear unit. Said to be versatile, this modular system can be used on various machine types, delivering up to 250kW and with a choice of front, rear and all-wheel drive. Its Transfer Box system adds an electric power unit to the original engine and is designed for machines carrying out a mixed duties. The mild hybrid powertrain architecture system benefits from an E-Flywheel and the E-Turbocharger. Both of these systems can be used to recover energy that can then be reused.

Kohler’s hybrid solution is compliant with Stage V standards. Called K-HEM (Kohler Hybrid Energy Module), the unit generates power using a KDW 1003 18kW diesel engine and a 48V electric motor.  The combined unit is expected to offer more than 30kW without the need for exhaust gas aftertreatment systems. It can also operate as a generator for energy accumulation systems. The electric motor works as a generator and auxiliary power source. It recovers energy during braking, and when the machine has low energy demands. Energy stored in the battery is available when the machine requires peak power.

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Kohler's hybrid unit is extremely compact

Meanwhile, Kubota has further developed its micro-hybrid prototype engine, which was previously seen in prototype form.

Optimising power delivery is crucial for efficient driveline solutions and Bonfiglioli is developing an advanced solution. The firm says that its system will boost working efficiency for an array of off-highway machine types. The company recently bought the licence to further develop and manufacture the continuously variable transmissions (CVT) from CVTcorp. Using CVTs can make major savings in fuel consumption as they allow engines to operate at optimum output. Bonfiglioli is carrying out field trials of CVTs with two telehandler manufacturers at present, while a CVT drive for use in wheeled loaders will follow, although field trials will not commence until 2021.

Diesel engine firms are continuing to develop new engines too, although these are cleaner running than previous generation units.

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