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Cummins and Versatile partner to bring 15L hydrogen engines to ag market

Cummins and Canada-based Buhler Industries, a leading tractor manufacturer under the Versatile brand, signed a letter of intent for plans to integrate the Cummins 15-liter hydrogen engines in Versatile’s equipment to lead the decarbonization of the agriculture market.


Cummins M15H

Since 1967, Versatile has used Cummins engines exclusively in all four-wheel drive tractors. Each company is positioned to build on their histories in agriculture as they step forward into new powertrain technologies.


Versatile 620 fitted with a Cummins X15 diesel.

Around 1 million Cummins engines are in operation around the world in agricultural applications from combine harvesters, tractors and sprayers to specialist and autonomous equipment. Ranging from 2.8 to 19 liters, Cummins agriculture engines are tailored for farm performance, with the power bulge and torque back up available for tractor operation (frame and structural) or the high power density that combine harvesters and sprayers require.

While diesel engines continue to be the flexible power of choice for the foreseeable future in agriculture, such a collaboration enables both companies to develop low and zero carbon solutions that are ideally suited to farming.

—Adam Reid, Versatile’s Vice-President of Sales and Marketing

Cummins has recently announced its plan to leverage existing platforms and expertise in spark ignited technology to build hydrogen engines. The high commonality among engine components between diesel and hydrogen leverages scale advantages for OEMs, while delivering the reliability that farmers need.

—Ann Schmelzer, General Manager Cummins Global Agriculture Business

Hydrogen combustion engines will provide a cost effective zero-carbon fueled solution for high load factor and high utilization applications. Key benefits of using this technology include enabling a more-timely solution to reduce carbon emissions without sacrificing productivity. It minimizes the impact on the machine design for manufacturers, allowing common parts and components across platforms to drive scale advantages, reducing costs.

When integrated in farm equipment, farmers will have a solution that is dependable, as well as easy to service and maintain, the partners said.



For farming, there is good potential for on site or near site production from biomass in many locations, as one of the big hassles with biomass aside from breaking down lignin is transport costs.

Solar, wind and hydrogen from biomass have good potential to substantially decouple much of agriculture from the global energy system.

In some applications batteries would work pretty well, but only really in an ancillary role, as for instance when the harvest has to come in, you can't hang around because renewables are low at that point, and the work schedule of the equipment is absolutely brutal in the number of hours per day the equipment has to run.
It is really essential that they can fuel up in the minimum time without hassle.

For those who have not caught it, here is a fine development in greenhouse agriculture, which cleverly installs solar panels in the roofs, utilising wavelengths the plants don't need, whilst greatly reducing the outside energy input for greenhouse agriculture:


This is the vision the oil and gas companies had in mind when they started the push for a replacement fuel for diesel/gasoline; they want to supply H2 from the processes they currently have in place. And, right now, 95% of the supply of hydrogen is from gross polluting gas/oil reformers.
Continuing to use internal combustion engines is going backwards when you compare the cycle of supplying hydrogen to charging batteries.


@Davemart Another argument for H2 fuel vs batteries is that for high power but low duty cycle requirements like these mega sized tractors, the economics possibly favor H2 versus heavy investment in batteries that can also be grid storage when not used for farming. An economics study that uses generic batteries with various costs and cycle lifes to compare to H2 could be a good guide to farmers and should be commisioned by the DOA (Dept. of Agriculture).

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