One of the most reputed tractor manufacturers, Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited (TAFE), and IIT-Kanpur will together be developing technology for tractor engines that can run on Dimethyl Ether (DME), rather than other fuels like diesel and petrol.
For a long time, Dimethyl Ether has been considered an alternative to conventional fuel as it is greener. DME is clean burning and non-toxic, and is potentially renewable fuel. Its high Octane value of 55-60, quiet combustion and inexpensive fueling system is considered as a tough competition for diesel and can be used as a fuel in diesel-run vehicles and automobiles.
Dr. Avinash Kumar Agarwal and Prof Tarun Gupta of IIT-Kanpur have developed the technology for DME-powered diesel engines under the Department of Science and Technology’s Imprint-2 initiative, which has now been accredited a sum of ₹1.6 crores for the project.
TAFE is associated with this project as an industrial partner. As an industrial partner, TAFE has given a financial commitment to the project. As told by the researchers, TAFE aims at amending a base diesel engine and develop it for a retrofit kit for DME adaptation. With this modification, even the existing engines could be made to run on DME. The researchers also plan to build a prototype of the tractor engine that will be fully powered by DME as the project reaches its end.
Benefits of Using DME over Diesel
Developing a tractor engine that runs on DME could be of significance for the world as it is high time to conserve the environment. A green fuel like DME can help in achieving sustainable growth. DME, being a non-toxic and environmentally friendly fuel, will not poison soil even if it accidentally spills out. It does not sink into the water and is not absorbed by the soil, which makes it safer for the farmers using it on their tractors. Whereas diesel spillage could spoil soil and the quality of soil is greatly impacted. As TAFE modifies its existing engines, farmers can expect many such DME-run vehicles in the near future.