What is the role of diesel engine in the future of agriculture?

Diesel engines are currently the most widely used engine in the agricultural sector for many reasons. As the world continues to transition toward cleaner energy sources, it could be considered that alternative engine types may play a greater role. While industry pioneers such as DEUTZ have invested heavily in developing climate neutral product portfolio to replace diesel engines, it is undeniable that those alternatives are unable to match the intense duty cycles of most agricultural equipment yet, making classic diesel engines the top choice for agricultural equipment still.

Diesel engine

Diesel engines have been developed to cater for many different applications and remain popular in powering agricultural machinery for several reasons. They provide the power and torque required for hauling heavy loads and completing heavy-duty tasks that are a major part of the agricultural sector. Diesel fuel is readily available, particularly in rural environments where infrastructure is well established.

Diesel engines are also highly efficient, providing the engine with a significant amount of energy per unit of fuel. Their durability is also unquestionable, and they also require less frequent repairs and maintenance compared to other alternatives. When an overhaul is needed, the process is less complicated. In critical times like the harvest season, the high power and endurance of classic diesel engines are still necessary for most tractors, harvesters and sprayers.

Though emissions from diesel engines have been proven to produce harmful pollutants, the technology involved in diesel combustion has never been cleaner. Reputable engine manufacturers such as DEUTZ have designed diesel engines compatible with paraffinic diesel fuels such as hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), making them more sustainable and maintaining their place in agriculture.

The good news is the development of biofuels and synthetic fuels that can be used in diesel engines without modification will help future proof the viability of these engines. Both can be used without modification to the engine, saving resources. They may also be used either on their own or as a fuel mix, which provides options, convenience and financial savings.

Agricultural machinery is required to work long hours, haul heavy loads and function in difficult terrain and climactic conditions. The engines that power this equipment need to be reliable and long-lasting to ensure farming operations can continue uninterrupted and there are fewer downtimes.

As things stand, there is no alternative for the agricultural sector that provides the same combination of power, torque, efficiency, reliability and durability as a diesel engine, ensuring they will be needed in this vital sector well into the future.