HVO approval and initial factory fill for manufacturers tractors, combine harvesters and forage harvesters

  • From 1 October 2023, all CLAAS agricultural machinery that meets the latest emissions standard are approved for operation with hydrotreated vegetable oils (HVOs)

Furthermore, the machines will be filled with the sustainable biofuel before they leave the factory gates at Harsewinkel and Le Mans.

Protecting the climate and reducing environmentally harmful CO2 emissions play an increasingly important role in agriculture. CLAAS is aware of this responsibility and is looking closely at a number of different sustainable drive technologies.

The approval of hydrotreated vegetable oils (HVOs) for all agricultural machines that meet the latest emissions standard (Stage V) marks a significant step in this direction. This means that the machines will be able to run on this sustainable liquid biofuel in future. Dr Martin von Hoyningen-Huene, Executive Vice President BU Tractor: “There are no real alternatives to the combustion engine for high-performance agricultural machines in the foreseeable future. So we need solutions that reduce fossil fuel emissions associated with this type of drive, yet do not have significant adverse effects on manufacturing costs, consumption, weight and durability. Hydrotreated plant oils are an ideal choice because they already exist and their positive environmental impacts are immediately apparent.”

In agriculture, diesel fuels are the main energy source for mobile farm machines. At the same time, climate targets require us to find alternatives to fossil fuels. A gradual de-fossilisation of agricultural production processes and agricultural machinery is needed in several respects, and this will shape the development of future drive systems. However, this will only be feasible in practice with the backing of appropriate supporting policies.

While battery-powered drive offers advantages for low engine outputs, this technology reaches its limits with increasing power and energy requirements. A JAGUAR forage harvester with a battery-powered drive would have to be at least twice the size and twice the weight of a current model with combustion engine and liquid fuel to achieve a comparable performance and range. Gaseous fuels such as methane or hydrogen also have significant disadvantages in terms of their energy density and thus their energy storage requirements.

“For some time now, CLAAS has adopted an open-minded approach to technology, on the grounds that a comprehensive de-fossilisation of the agricultural sector calls for the availability and cost effectiveness of a wide range of solutions to be examined”, explains Patrick Ahlbrand, CLAAS Product Strategy. “In future, battery-powered drives will offer a suitable alternative for municipal work, light fieldwork and applications in and around the farmyard. However, for harvesting machines and large tractors above 150 hp, there is no realistic and economical alternative to sustainable liquid fuels in the long-term.”

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