CNG tractors in Russia
Apparently CNG is a fuel well cut out for the needs of agricultural machinery, as proved by the company Traktornye Zavody – a manufacturer of several methane-powered tractors. Two models were displayed at the GasSuf 2014 fair in Moscow: the AgroMash 85 TK and the AgroMash 30 TK. Both have been developed and are manufactured entirely in Russia, so customers get what they know, trust and can easily maintain and/or repair.
First up is the 85 TK model, featuring all-wheel drive and a four-cylinder, four-stroke gas engine with turbocharging, good for 85 PS of power. Fuel is stored in six steel CNG tanks, whose overall gross capacity is 365 l. This means they can hold up to 70 m3 of methane, which is sufficient for 8,5 h of continuous work under 75% engine load.
The smaller model, 30 TK, features a two-cylinder, four-stroke turbocharged engine, churning out 30 PS. Its three steel CNG tanks have a gross capacity of 150 l (50 l each), which translates into 30 m3 of fuel that can be refueled in one go. The tractor remains operational for up to 14,5 h straight (under 75% engine load). As the producer claims, both vehicles should prove particularly useful in cities where there is sufficient CNG refueling infrastructure.
According to available data, there are currently 252 CNG stations across Russia. Sadly, given the country's vast area, this means that many distant (and some not-that-distant) rural regions won't be able to make any use of the AgroMash tractors since there is nowhere to refuel them at. Even so, natural gas remains the most affordable fuel in the country and engines running on it are on average by 50% cheaper to maintain and repair than their diesel-powered equivalents.
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