Kubota's Micro Hybrid Engine with 48-V Motor Generator

On display by Kubota Agricultural Machinery India was its Micro Hybrid Engine, also known as the P0 hybrid engine – the first hybrid architecture that seamlessly integrates the engine and electric motor. The 48-V motor generator uses the electric power to compensate for high loads required instantaneously. For some applications, high load is required for only a fraction of the total work time. The Micro Hybrid Engine instantaneous 10-kW electric motor-assist function to match high loads, allows customers to select an engine with an output power tailored to the low and medium load regions of frequent use.

“Previously, OEMs had to rely on larger displacement engines to handle such overloads, even if they were needed sporadically. However, with this engine, that is no longer necessary,” informed Shingo Harada, Head - Engine Business, Kubota Agricultural Machinery India. “Moreover, in an application with an engine of 56kW or more due to a momentary high load, it is possible to consider replacing it with the Kubota micro hybrid engine of less than 56kW, which assists the output of 10kW with a motor. By choosing the Kubota Micro Hybrid Engine, it will fit compactly in the mounting space because there is no after-treatment device SCR required for diesel engines with output of 56 kW or more. Eliminating the need for SCR, saves on time needed to top up DEF. It saves maintenance work and eliminates the running cost of DEF.”

Kubota Agricultural Machinery India

“We have taken significant steps towards contributing to carbon neutrality. We recognize that achieving carbon neutrality will require gradual progress within society, with stakeholders making necessary investments. As an engine manufacturer, we are committed to providing solutions that align with society's journey towards carbon neutrality,” added Harada.

The company is promoting three solutions based on ICE technology: Pure Engine Solution, Hybrid Solution, and Fuel Solution. OEMs don't need to modify their chassis to mount any of these engines as we are keeping the size of these engines as much as its existing corresponding models, so these are the realistic solutions as the first step for decarbonization.

The Pure Engine Solution is working to further improve the fuel efficiency of existing engines. In 2021, Kubota had announced a technology called TVCR that improves combustion efficiency in small engines. The electronic control contributes to clean exhaust gas, low fuel consumption, highly efficient work, and ICT needs such as automation and unmanned operation. It also suppresses output power drop when using HVO and maintains high engine performance. The Hybrid Solution engines utilize electric motors and are developed based on Kubota's knowledge of installing engines in off-road machines/applications.

“Currently, we are working on 3 architectures: Micro Hybrid (P0), P1 and P2. These hybrid developments include the elemental technologies necessary for electrification. We will continue to develop more efficient products that combine internal combustion engines with motorized equipment. The Fuel Solution is the development for the future that is unique to Kubota, which has been responding to multi-fuel so far. We've worked on multiple fuels based on our sophisticated technology of internal combustion systems. We are already supporting fuel types such as Natural gas, CNG, LPG and HVO fuel,” said Harada. “We have also announced the development of a hydrogen engine. Hydrogen does not emit CO2 when it reacts with oxygen to produce energy, emitting only steam, and is therefore considered to be a zero-carbon energy source.”

“As regards BSV emission norms (probably by March 2024), we are conducting feasibility studies of every market and their potential and are doing a simulation of how the market will be changed by the impact of the new emission regulations. As of now, we have no clear plan for manufacturing BS V complaint machines in India.”

“We believe that the swift realization of zero carbon emissions is essential. In line with this trend, we anticipate that power sources will diversify, leading to changes not only in the supply chain but also in the value chain. Furthermore, as equipment becomes increasingly autonomous or remotely controlled, the electrical control of the engine will become key.”

Harada informed that the company is investing 18.6 billion yen in its Okajima Business Center (Taisho-Ku, Osaka, Japan). The investment includes product line renovation for casting products for diesel engines. In anticipation of carbon-neutral measures, Kubota is adding a new electric furnace and incorporating disaster prevention measures for existing buildings. Annual production capacity is expected to grow by 20% with the renovations. The new casting line will accelerate automation and labor saving measures. Construction is expected to be completed by early 2024. Operations on the current production line will continue until then.

“It is our belief that the increasing demand for industrial engines will continue not only in India but also in emerging economies. We are therefore in the process of strengthening our production system for industrial diesel engines, besides our Okajima plant investment. Approximately 9 billion yen is earmarked to reinforce the production line in Kubota’s Sakai Rinkai Plant. The investment includes 2,000 sqm of building space in the plant, including space for an engine engineering department. This will allow Kubota to centralize manufacturing, technology and Japanese sales in a single location to increase collaboration and service. The new location opens up mass production of large engines, including 200 hp model, while strengthening Kubota’s compliance with current and future emissions regulations, and thereby increase its presence in the Indian market,” stated Harada.
NBM&CW - January 2024
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