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More research information on the effects of the electrification of off-road machines on atmospheric emissions

Published on 28.5.2024
Tampere University
A person wearing sunglasses, black clothing and a cap with a beard examines a complex device that is a test bed.
The test platform of AGCO Power and the Tampere University can be used for AGCO Power's own research, university projects and teaching.Photo: Jonne Renvall, Tampere University
The joint research project between the Aerosol Physics Laboratory of Tampere University and AGCO Power Oy, which launched in early 2024, will generate globally unique research data on aerosols and how the electrification of off-road machinery impacts them. The impact of aerosols on global warming is one of the key uncertainty factors in climate research.

“Since we are very well prepared for conducting multifaceted and detailed research on atmospheric emissions from engines, this study will have global importance as well,” rejoices Topi Rönkkö, professor of aerosol physics at Tampere University.

The study investigates the impact of electrification on atmospheric emissions from off-road machinery

Atmospheric aerosols consist of fine particles, smaller than one-hundredth of a millimetre in diameter, that not only impact instantaneous air quality but also affect the climate in many different ways. Different types of fine particulate matter can, for example, absorb thermal radiation from the sun, change the course of sunlight, and act as condensation nuclei for cloud droplets. Gaining more research data on aerosols is essential in order to understand the importance of their climatic effects.

The study aims to clarify how off-road engines and different types of fuel used in those engines impact aerosol emissions from machinery. Measurements will be carried out to investigate how electrical assistance of combustion engines in off-road machinery affects the emissions. Impact studies will also be conducted on alternative diesel fuels from renewable sources.

“The research results will clarify the characteristics and amounts of total aerosol emissions as well as how different sources of power affect those emissions,” says Kimmo Korhonen, postdoctoral researcher at Tampere University.

Sustainable product development of off-road machinery is more challenging than that of passenger cars

The presence of electric cars in road traffic has increased dramatically. The increase has been slower for off-road machinery, as the maximum size of fully electrified working machines is limited by the power capacity offered by current battery technology. 

“There are many different options on how to minimise the climatic effects of off-road machinery, depending on the customer’s needs regarding usability. In addition to electric batteries, AGCO Power’s engine plant at Linnavuori is developing the use of hydrogen, methanol, and methane as sources of energy, for example. Our goal is to address the climate challenge by developing and producing engines that make working machinery as environmentally friendly as possible. This project is taking us towards a greener future,” says Kari Aaltonen, director of engineering at AGCO Power. 

The collaboration between the university and AGCO Power has a long-standing tradition

The collaboration between Tampere University and AGCO Power has a long-standing tradition.  As one of AGCO Power’s product development units is located on the Hervanta campus of Tampere University, working as a team comes naturally. Diesel engines are tested in Hervanta, using power sources from Linnavuori and a testing platform developed by AGCO Power. 

“We developed our own research environment for testing series hybrid powertrains because it was clearly needed. In addition to AGCO Power’s own research, the testing platform can also be utilised for university projects and teaching purposes,” says Jouko Järvinen, R & AE manager at AGCO Power.


EPSA project

The project ‘Towards Understanding Of The Effects Of Electrification On Primary And Secondary Aerosol Emissions From Machinery: E-Fuels And Hybrid Powertrains’ (EPSA), is funded by the Finnish Research Impact Foundation. The project will last for two years. The studies will be conducted on a hybrid research platform of Tampere University that was established in 2021. The project will be implemented using Tandem Industry Academia funding of the Finnish Research Impact Foundation.

AGCO Power

AGCO Power, operating in Nokia, Linnavuori, is one of the world's leading developers and manufacturers of off-road engines. In its production facilities in Finland, China, Brazil and Argentina, AGCO Power manufactures engines for many of the world's most famous tractor brands, such as Fendt, Valtra and Massey Ferguson. AGCO Power, which has been in operation for more than 80 years, is part of the AGCO Corporation.