The market for propane- and natural gas-powered engines continues to be strong, as producers look at these alternative fuel sources to replace their diesel engines. Industrial Irrigation Services, long a supplier of these engine types under different brands, has launched a new line for 2019 and beyond called Reliable Horsepower.
“We’re taking engines from a variety of manufacturers and launching our own spark-ignited engine line,” says Jay Canada, vice president, sales and engineering, IIS. “The line currently goes from 5.7 liters up to 10.3 liters.”
He adds that more products are already in development at the smaller end, with 3- and 4.3-liter engines in development. And work is underway on engines above that 10.3-liter size.
“What we’re bringing with the rebranding is a completely new fuel system to market,” Canada says. “This is an electronically controlled fuel system that will have best-in-class fuel economy.”
That fuel system can also burn a wider range of fuels including propane and natural gas — including lower-quality natural gas that’s often used for industrial engines that work on pipelines.
Into the irrigation market
For irrigators, the new Reliable Horsepower line will get full remote-start and remote-monitoring capabilities by the 2020 irrigation season, Canada says. That’s a benefit of the electronic fuel system, but Canada reminds users, “Obviously it’s still an engine; they have to go out and do maintenance and check oil and things like that, but they can control speed and start and stop remotely with that new technology.”
As for efficiency, Canada says the new engines will work in the range of 12 to 13 horsepower per gallon per hour, so an engine running at 130 hp would burn 10 gallons per hour.
The new fuel system, which Canada says was developed with Woodward, is called the RPG Plus. “So, we’re taking base engines from a variety of manufacturers, and then using our technology that we’ve co-developed with Woodward, and have that EPA-certified for use across natural gas and propane,” he says.
The company has received EPA certification for the 5.7-liter and 6.2-liter engines. Canada anticipates receiving certification of the company’s bigger-block 8-liter, 9.1-liter and 10.3-liter engines in October. “So, we’ll have that full range available for our 2020 model year, as well as hopefully bringing a couple more displacements to market as well,” he says.
Mike Newland, director, agriculture business development, Propane Education and Research Council, shares that he’s excited about the new engines. He notes that the new fuel system will bring some key benefits to the propane-powered engine market.
“We think the efficiencies are going to be fantastic with the new fuel system on it,” he says. “We also think the emissions are going to be fantastic as well.”
The new electronic fuel system will also offer some benefits to farmers, Newland says. “The fuel delivery is a much different system, and we think that’s going to be a big win for farmers [with the] reliability of the system and the efficiency of it.”
Newland, who works with companies in the ag space to develop new uses for propane, sees the Reliable Horsepower line offering more benefits for farmers. The new engines will qualify for PERC incentives that farmers can use to lower the cost of an installation.
“The engines qualify for a $300 per liter of displacement incentive,” Newland says. “Farmers can learn more about all of those programs at propane.com/incentive.”
The engines are so new that IIS has yet to update the website. The new power plants were EPA-certified just ahead of Husker Harvest Days. But visit reliablehp.com for company contact information.