Empowering off-highway engine sustainability

Leading off-highway engine manufacturers have made sustainability a priority alongside the renowned high performance and efficiency of their solutions
Ancillary Equipment / January 12, 2023
By Guy Woodford
Cummins Stage V Performance Series engines lineup
Cummins Stage V Performance Series engines lineup

Cummins has been at the cutting-edge of power solutions for over a century. Moving forward, Steve Nendick, Cummins’ marketing communications director, notes that the US off-highway engine major has a two-pronged strategy: to continue to advance internal combustion engine technology with further advancements in performance, efficiency, and compatibility with cleaner fuels; and to innovate zero-emissions solutions like hydrogen fuel cell and battery technology.

“For construction and aggregates markets, the diesel engine will remain the go-to choice for the majority of machinery due to lack of infrastructure in electric charging and hydrogen supply,” explains Nendick. “While this alternate technology and infrastructure is being developed, Cummins can help operators now with solutions that reduce overall environmental impact of their operations. As well as reducing emissions, they will maximise the efficiency and performance of their machines and cut running costs.  Operators can continue to use a tried and trusted power solution.”

Steve Nendick, Cummins’ marketing communications director
Steve Nendick, Cummins’ marketing communications director

Nendick says the latest generation of Cummins Performance Series Stage V engines can satisfy the duty cycles of a variety of construction demands, whilst generating near-zero NOx and particulate matter emissions.

Significantly, Nendick notes that Cummins Performance Series range has high power and torque for engines of their size.  This means that they can replace Cummins and competitive engines of higher displacement without impacting productivity. It delivers a lower cost installation for the manufacturer and a more efficient operation, with less fuel use and lower CO2 emissions for the end user.  Nendick stresses that servicing costs are also reduced with less oil and filters needed.  

“Each Performance Series engine can be matched to the OEM’s machine electronically.  Cummins’ proprietary software calibration is tailored to the exact operational needs of the equipment to provide the ideal solution.

“The range is available from 3.8- to 15-litre displacement with power from 55 – 503kW. The engines’ up-to-nine-litre displacement are integrated with Cummins Single Module after-treatment systems to meet the Stage V near-zero emissions levels without the need for cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). This makes the engines lighter and more compact, and lower in weight, driving further efficiency and environmental benefits.”

Nendick highlights that ‘Stop-Start’ capabilities can be combined with the B6.7 Performance Series to lower fuel consumption by up to 10%, cutting CO2 emissions and overall operating costs, whilst also minimising on-site exhaust emissions and noise.

To integrate Stop-Start technology effectively, Cummins engineers work jointly with customers to tailor engine-control software to the OEM’s machine-controller software. The OEM controller observes the machine operations and relays them to the engine-control module when it is appropriate and safe for the machine to shut off. The engine controller monitors working parameters such as coolant temperature, intake manifold temperature, engine load, and fan operation to make sure it can shut down.

Due to this tailoring per application, with a limited number of stop-starts allowed per hour, this technology provides on-site emissions and sociability benefits without impacting durability.

Nendick continues: “Cummins has recently announced collaboration with a number of Telematic Service Providers (TSPs) to enable customers to remotely access their engines through Connected Diagnostics.  These include Topcon, Trimble, TelliQ, Elevat and Saucon with more to come.

Cummins says that HVO biofuel can now be used on its X15 off-highway engine
Cummins says that HVO biofuel can now be used on its X15 off-highway engine

“Cummins Connected Diagnostics works by wirelessly connecting engines, allowing for constant monitoring and diagnosis of operating behaviour and potential causes of engine faults. Owners are then able to make informed decisions and take adequate actions as they can suggest adapting how equipment is being used or make pre-emptive repairs to prevent extended periods of downtime.  This capability assists in improving operating performance, boosts asset utilisation and maximises uptime, increasing efficiency while also reducing overall costs.

“Working in tandem with Cummins technology, Elevat’s Machine Connect makes it simple for off-road equipment OEMs and fleet managers to gather and analyse data to identify usage trends and field-based issues with top-of-the-range intelligent design and operational insight. Machine Connect is the solo platform that seamlessly communicates with all the major component suppliers, which gives OEMs the flexibility to apply a range of solutions to their machines.”

Nendick states that Cummins has now confirmed that hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) biofuel can be used on its X15 off-highway engine. This means that the full Performance Series from 3.8 litres up to 15 litres can utilise this low-carbon fuel.

Often described as a renewable diesel or green diesel, HVO is collected by processing lipids such as vegetable oil, tallow, or used cooking oil. It delivers up to a 90% reduction in greenhouse

gas emissions compared to diesel ‘from well-to-wheel’.  Sulphur-free and oxygen-free, it does not require any engine modifications for it to be utilised, with very little impact on service intervals.

“Using equipment installed with HVO-ready Cummins Performance Series engines is an easy, and economic step that allows customers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, with minimal impact to operations and processes,” explains Nendick.

Nendick emphasises that Cummins is a market-leading company progressing future energy solutions and developing innovative products to the market, spending over US$1bn each year on research and technology. This, he says, is evident in the additions of HVO and Stop-Start capabilities for the Performance Series, but also in the introduction of a fuel-agnostic engine range, with hydrogen-combustion capabilities available with minimum adjustment to engine architecture.

He concludes: “As a company, Cummins is driven to create a wide variety of power solutions and partner with OEMs and customers across its many markets to achieve low- and zero-emission solutions suitable for all applications.”

The eye-catching Volvo Penta stand at bauma 2022
The eye-catching Volvo Penta stand at bauma 2022

Volvo Penta has taken another step on its journey towards creating a sustainable industrial future with the unveiling of its dual-fuel hydrogen engine at bauma Munich. By using hydrogen as a renewable fuel source, the engine – which is an evolution of the company’s proven D8 model – will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80%, without impacting power or performance.

The engine operates in a similar way to the conventional D8 model but uses mainly hydrogen instead of diesel. If hydrogen is not available, the engine can continue to run on traditional fuel, safeguarding productivity and uptime. This means that with dual-fuel technology, assets and business operations can be future-proofed – despite the fact there is not full coverage from a reliable hydrogen infrastructure in place today.

“The new Volvo Penta dual-fuel hydrogen engine offers customers a low-carbon interim solution before suitable zero-emissions alternatives become viable,” explains Anders Wernersson, product manager for the dual-fuel hydrogen engine. “It delivers the same power and torque curve as a regular diesel engine but with significantly lower CO2 emissions. The technology is relatively simple and can be installed with minimal disruption, so we see this as being a cost-effective and robust solution for customers in a variety of applications – including construction, quarrying, and mining – who are looking to transition to net-zero emissions.”

Volvo Penta has partnered with CMB.TECH to develop the dual-fuel hydrogen-powered solution. CMB.TECH provides and trials the hydrogen add-on kit and tank system that works together with the Volvo Penta D8 engine and software. Currently, the engines are being run in test cells to optimize the hydrogen-diesel injection strategy for maximum reliability and emissions savings.

The first engines will be working in end customers’ machines in Europe in 2023 as part of a market pilot project, which will be followed by small-scale production. It will be a stepwise introduction based on market and customer demand and there will be a focus on the fit between the technology and customer needs, ensuring it makes sense to choose a dual-fuel powertrain.

A Caterpillar C7.1 industrial diesel engine
A Caterpillar C7.1 industrial diesel engine

“Collaboration and partnerships are essential to facilitate the transformation towards more sustainable power solutions,” says Wernersson. “This close partnership approach is a cornerstone of Volvo Penta’s long-term decarbonisation and business strategy. We work closely with our customers and partners to create tailored solutions based on their requirements. As part of the Volvo Group, we are in a unique position in that we can leverage proven technology and competence from Volvo Trucks, Volvo Buses and Volvo Construction Equipment. We combine this with our customer, market and application knowledge, allowing us to optimise and adapt our designs for a specific vehicle, considering the duty cycles, climate and environment it will operate in.”     

The new, eight-litre model has been designed to reduce emissions by using a renewable, fossil-free fuel source, therefore it is recommended that customers will use green hydrogen to power their equipment. Green hydrogen is a renewable energy, created by the electrolysis of water using sources such as solar, wind and waterpower to create a fully-carbon-neutral, hydrogen-production cycle.

The new, dual-fuel hydrogen-powered solution will help Volvo Penta on its way to reaching its ambitious commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), where the company aims to reach net-zero-value-chain emissions by 2040.

As part of the company’s enterprise strategy to support customers during the energy transition to a lower-carbon future, Caterpillar has highlighted its development of 48-volt, 300-volt, and 600-volt batteries for the off-highway industry.

Leveraging expertise across Caterpillar’s global network of technical centres in the US, UK, China and India, the programme focuses initially on battery solutions for equipment used predominantly in industrial applications.

The battery range uses lithium-ion technology and features a modular design to optimize performance and packaging. Furthermore, it has been engineered with sustainability in mind throughout its lifecycle, with the potential to reuse and recycle at the end of life.

Perkins’ up to 430kW 12.5-litre  2406J-E13TA industrial diesel engine
Perkins’ up to 430kW 12.5-litre 2406J-E13TA industrial diesel engine

The development programme also encompasses inverters, motors, electronic controls, digital services and other critical technologies to deliver the performance, reliability, durability, maintainability, and long-term value needed for equipment buyers working in harsh operating environments.

Caterpillar showcased prototypes of its battery technologies at bauma in Munich, Germany (24-30 October 2022).

“Caterpillar has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to sustainability through improvements in our operations and by helping our customers achieve their climate-related goals,” said Steve Ferguson, senior vice president Caterpillar Industrial Power Systems. “The announcement of our battery programme is our latest step in combining a wide-ranging inventory of innovations with extensive knowledge of the off-highway industry to offer solutions for a range of power needs, application types, duty cycles and operating environments.”

Caterpillar has committed to 100% of its new products through to 2030 being more sustainable than the previous generation, which is reflected in Caterpillar’s line-up of industrial-power solutions and integrated services finely tuned for owners of third-party equipment powered by Cat engines.

“Improved sustainability is a journey, not a destination, and one size doesn’t fit all in determining the appropriate power solution for equipment owners,” Ferguson said. “Our offerings can help customers and end users start improving the sustainability of their operations today through high-efficiency engines, fuels and digital solutions now available for the jobsite, by extending value and reducing waste over the lifecycle of equipment they already own, and by powering the next generation of equipment with innovations precisely configured for the jobsite.”

At bauma 2022, Caterpillar also showcased its 100kW Cat C3.6 industrial power unit and C7.1, C9.3B, C13B, and C18 industrial diesel engines. All meet EU Stage V and U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final emission standards while delivering claimed superior performance and low operating costs.

Kohler is offering a range of power options for the future, with its engines now able to run on HVO fuels
Kohler is offering a range of power options for the future, with its engines now able to run on HVO fuels

Perkins showcased at bauma 2022 Munich how it continues to invest in new engine technologies, including dual-label certification for EU Stage V and U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final. By what the company says is its optimising of the efficiency of the entire engine system from the air intake to the end of the exhaust pipe, Perkins has developed a full range of engines from 0.5 to 18 litres and 8.2 to 597kW with an integrated suite of advanced technologies. The units not only reduce GHG emissions, but also deliver significant improvements in power density, performance and operating efficiency.

The emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases associated with these engines can, says Perkins, be reduced by up to 85% using renewable, lower-carbon intensity fuels derived from sources including planted crops (soy, palm, rapeseed, etc.), used cooking oil, animal fat, biomass, algae, and others. Every industrial Perkins engine from the 400 Series through the 2800 Series can use low-carbon-intensity fuels that meet the leading industry diesel fuel specifications.

Additionally, Perkins, which has a customer base of more than 800 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), offers a powerful and growing portfolio of connectivity solutions that can help OEMs promote the optimal, sustainable performance of diesel engines. Available as a standalone service from Perkins or easily integrated with OEM fleet management offerings, connected engine capabilities deliver timely insights through a customisable dashboard of performance, fuel and oil consumption, and other vital engine data points that can maximise the uptime of Perkins-powered machines and fleets.

These connectivity offerings are seamlessly integrated with expert maintenance and service capabilities from the Perkins global distributor network to prompt the proactive diagnosis and resolution of engine issues, helping technicians get the job right first time to minimise downtime and repair expenses.

For example, the free Perkins My Engine app has been downloaded more than 100,000 times since its introduction in 2017. It reduces paperwork and improves productivity by providing service reminders, electronic service logs, service publications, quick links to distributors, and simplified sharing of engine data for customers, which is especially useful for rental companies.

In an increasingly connected world, OEMs are looking for ways to leverage the large amounts of telematics data being collected every second.

The John Deere next-generation JD14 diesel engine on show at bauma 2022
The John Deere next-generation JD14 diesel engine on show at bauma 2022

Creating actionable opportunities to strategically use these thousands of data points is one of the pressing challenges facing the off-highway industry as more OEMs integrate telematics systems into their equipment with the goal of better serving end users. The off-highway vehicle telematics market is projected to have a compound annual growth rate of 15% from 2022 to 2032, according to a report by Future Market Insights.

John Deere has found a way to address this challenge with Connected Support.

Enabled through John Deere remote-monitoring and diagnostic services, Connected Support helps increase efficiency, profitability, and productivity by monitoring equipment health and triggering predictive alerts to dealers so they can proactively manage parts replacement and schedule maintenance to improve their customers’ uptime.

Connected Support leverages a suite of dealer and factory tools including the ability to remotely monitor fleet health, diagnose machines, and program software. The Connected Support technology allows both dealers and end users to shift from a reactive maintenance mentality to a proactive approach.

John Deere is expanding its future telematic technology offerings to John Deere-powered OEM equipment through Connected Support with no subscription fees. Leveraging telematics will help ensure that OEM machines powered by John Deere engines are kept in peak operating condition, resulting in improved equipment uptime, and offering more insights into equipment performance.

Meanwhile, John Deere Power Systems (JDPS) is introducing two next-generation diesel engines, the JD14 and JD18, which have been designed from the ground up. These bauma 2022-showcased engines have capacities of 14 litres and 18 litres respectively and meet Stage V and Tier 4 Final emissions requirements for Europe and the US.

Nicholas Pfeiffer, an engine specialist from the company, said: “The 14 and 18 are the next generation of engines from us. They’ve been developed with a focus on serviceability and have the latest diagnostics.” Pfeiffer explained that the diagnostics ensure that the engines offer predictive maintenance capabilities, catching potential faults before they develop and making significant reductions in maintenance costs while also preventing unplanned downtime. He said, “We have our telematics gateway and if you opt in, the dealer is able to call you even before you know there’s an issue.”

Kohler is offering a range of power options for the future, with its engines now able to run on HVO fuels
Kohler is offering a range of power options for the future, with its engines now able to run on HVO fuels

Meanwhile, the wiring harnesses are all external to the engines making them easier to maintain and less vulnerable to damage. Customers are also able to select different fuel and oil filter locations to best suit the installation. Pfeiffer added that the simplification of the after-treatment package for the JD18 engine offers significant benefits also, with fewer sensors required and a further reduction in maintenance costs. These engines are biofuel capable, and Pfeiffer added, “We are working on HVO.”

US off-road engine manufacturer Kohler has completed a recent 155,000m² expansion of its North American manufacturing facility in Mosel, Wisconsin, ahead of its 150th year in business in 2023.

The company has set out its new strategy toward a more sustainable future, revealing its long-term plan and next steps to transform the group from a power producer to an energy supplier. The company says the unveiling of this new strategy comes at a momentous time for the engine industry.

Kohler’s strategy incorporates alternative fuels, electrification and hybridisation to reduce engine size or achieve zero emissions during operation, and hydrogen as a potential green-source fuel.

The manufacturer recently acquired electric vehicle and hybrid applications company Curtis. Kohler says the acquisition expands and diversifies its product portfolio, leveraging Curtis’ expertise in electrification, and solidifying Kohler’s commitment to hybrid and electrified solutions.

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