Sustainability has become a big issue politically throughout the world. At this year’s Sugarex Show in Khon Kean Samart Kaset Yon Ltd discussed “Sustainability” as an issue and compared the public perception with the reality facing farmers in 2023. One thing was made clear, that for sugar farmers in SE Asia, the option of using electricity to replace conventional engines does not seem practical at this moment in time. However, the question was posed as to what the actual goal of electrification is? Is it purely a political tool to create an alternative industrial demand? Or is the goal really to reduce pollution? Because, if the goal is reduced pollution, it can be achieved in other ways. Hydrogen engines are a distinct possibility as this gas can be made to perform in ways similar to LPG (liquid petroleum gas) and CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), both of which are familiar to Asian farmers. Various commercial reasons however, mean that these may not be a practical choice at present. The more practical option might be HVO.
With many younger customers entering the industry, Samart feels that customers may be becoming more responsive to environmental issues. It makes sense therefore that from 2024 model year, the latest (SER) engine will be introduced across the range to provide HVO compatible engines on all Samart cane harvesters.
So, what is HVO? It is a biofuel. Many of you will have previously heard of biofuels made from organic waste, or other plant material? These (FAME) fuels have a high organic content which leads to rapid deterioration of the fuel, causing filters to block and leading to excessive service downtime. The acids in the fuel (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester) also attack the engine’s internal seals, eventually causing catastrophic, and normally irreparable failure, as such these have not been successful in agricultural applications.
HVO however, is a second generation 100% biofuel made from vegetable oil which has been specially processed into a fossil-free paraffinic diesel fuel. The two part process is known as hydro-treatment, thus Hydro-treated Vegetable Oil (HVO). HVO can be a direct replacement for regular (mineral) diesel in some modern engines. And In comparison with mineral diesel HVO produces lower particulate matter (PM), reduced carbon monoxide (CO) and an overall reduction of around 90% less carbon dioxide (CO2). The most significant of these features in many Asian countries, might be the extremely low particulate matter generated by HVO in comparison to other fuels.
HVO is also very stable versus other diesels, with very low fatty organic content it avoids the risk of vegetative growth within the fuel causing degradation. This means that HVO can be stored for considerable periods of time without deterioration, a fact that will likely be attractive to many farmers and means that useful stocks of fuel can be held throughout the year ensuring available supplies in the soil preparation and crushing season.
Speaking for Samart at Sugarex Thailand 2023, Engineering Technologist Philip Pope commented “The introduction of SER biofuel compatible engines to our Superspeed II harvester completes our program to introduce biofuel engines across the range. We are completing the circle. When we harvest, our product forms part of the food chain, but now, potentially begins to be part of the environmental solution. Our SER engines can use a fuel produced from sugar and other organic waste giving our customer the tools to continue business, whilst having the chance to make a difference to air quality for the future”.
From 2024 model year, HVO compatible engines will be available on Samart SM200C, SM200 Predator and the SM200 Superspeed II. For more details and advice on cane harvester application as well as technical advice as to how to get the very best from your Samart machine contact the Samart development centre at Hankha, Chainat.