PLANTERS CORNER

Let’s Move Towards Sustainability Together

Globally, there is a wish from our governments to reduce pollution, and the easy target to focus upon is the diesel engine. Politicians, I am sure feel that they are right to try to convince the populace that electricity will be our only energy source in the future, and that the switch away from conventional fuels, or at least internal combustion engines must happen soon.

European governments have even put in place unachievable target dates to reach this “zero emission” future. Nothing that was worth doing was ever achieved by “urgent” means. It is simply irresponsible to tell the world that electricity is the only option. Whilst that may, or may not be the case, it certainly isn’t true currently, and frankly, I doubt it ever will be. Electricity is great in the home, or where fixed installations require power. It is expensive to produce, hard to store, wasteful in operation, and poses untold problems when applied to mobile or isolated machinery.

If we actually want to address the problem of air pollution, it becomes more acceptable if properly developed solutions are gradually introduced, either by legislation, or more realistically by making the low pollution route the preferred option. A good example of this is the use of CNG in many of Bangkok’s taxis. That one move reduces the CO2 emissions by 25% over a conventional petrol engine.

At Samart, we recognise the fact that our customer base is unlikely to be ready for electrically driven vehicles for at least the next two decades and will still have to rely on the diesel engine. So, we started our drive towards lower emissions by introducing features which reduced fuel usage and pollution, but give the customers a more attractive package.

Sounds like a big thing doesn’t it? But it’s really not. Currently, in most Asian countries there are no regulations surrounding engine emissions. So literally any type of engine, even obsolete second-hand engines can be built into new machines, and operated regardless of the emissions of the engines and their potential for pollution.

At Samart, we agreed, pre COVID that we would move towards a better standard. One that would suit our product offering yet give our customers a better, more effective and cleaner deal on engines. Simultaneously our engineers set to work on improvements to the internal mechanics of the machines to reduce overall power demand. Less power demand, less fuel requirement, less fuel burned, the less pollution.

The Volvo Penta

The results of these programs is now history, with the release of the new “Predator” harvester last year, we saw fuel/tonne demand drop drastically, and at the centre of that phenomenon was the Volvo Penta fully emissionised engine that now provides the power to drive the machine. This engine, along with the Samart TEC engine management system is at the heart of the stunning performance and low smoke emission of the Samart Predator.

Now, whilst this may not be the “zero” emission solution that has been recommended by the world’s experts, it is a big step forward for customers who are using Samart versus some of the older designed harvesters on the market, and a move towards lower emission. For us, this is a more responsible approach than trying to convince farmers to accept EV technology and is a strong step forward, rather than an uncertain leap towards a “zero” emission future.

However, we are not complacent, we accept that maybe other options will present themselves as developments evolve. But, because we recognise the challenge to farmers (who will need to refuel in remote locations), our preference will always be towards alternative fuels.

It is interesting that Otto Diesel, the man who invented the engine ran his engine on peanut oil, so with biodiesel and hydrogen engines becoming a reality, we have a lot of potential for fuel alternatives. For the moment though, we think we are on the right track versus emissions. We have already worked on plans to install diesels with DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) and SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) to take the emissions level to Tier 5 on normal diesel before we move to other fuels, but, that is all for the future. Farmers have enough problems to deal with already.

Our revision program is now moving onto our other models, and we will release the new Volvo Penta powered SM200 Superspeed model at Sugarex in Khon Kean later this year. Very popular with farming contractors, the SM200 Superspeed has a 50 kph on road capability allowing easy and effective transfer between work places.

The Superspeed can be simply driven from job to job without any modification or change to settings and without the use of truck transport. This helps contractors by reducing their fuel bills, cutting transport & manpower cost and improving productivity. Plus, it will push further towards a better environment in rural communities.

At Samart we don’t set impossible targets, we just work with the communities to move in the right direction. We are not telling our customers what they should do, we are evolving our product and hoping that they will share our strategy to move towards a cleaner environment.