How AgLoco® works
AgLoco® works like the existing conventional tractor on your farm except that it is fuelled by solid biofuel instead of diesel. AgLoco® matches the weight, speed and performance of the equivalent diesel tractor.
The difference with an AgLoco® is that you produce your own fuel and take control of your own energy resilient future.
AgLoco® uses external combustion where the fuel is continuously burnt in a firebox. The heat then boils water to make superheated steam to power the separate engine. The big difference to traditional steam engines is the small amount of water that is pressurised as steam at any time. This is why AgLoco® are light, safe, responsive and fast to steam from cold.
The firebox is insulated and for combustion only, all heat transfer is downstream. With combustion temperatures of 900ºC+ combustion is clean and complete with no possibility of sparks being emitted from the exhaust. Our heat exchanger transfers the heat into the water creating superheated steam to power the engine located on top of the AgLoco®.
The engine has two pistons but unlike a diesel engine energy is applied to both sides of the piston as required so it is the equivalent of four conventional cylinders and added to that, a steam engine is in effect, 2-stroke, the net result is effectively an eight cylinder engine. AgLoco® is super smooth.
How to control the AgLoco® engine
The operator has two primary engine controls
- A throttle lever or regulator which controls the amount of steam entering the cylinders
- A reversing lever or (US term) Johnson bar which controls the timing of the admission of steam into the cylinders. This is required for two purposes.
- To reverse the AgLoco® direction.
- To enable more fuel-efficient operation when the AgLoco® is running in a steady state: The throttle is set wide open and the power output is controlled by moving the reversing lever closer to its mid-point (“reducing the cut-off”) to limit the amount of steam admitted to the cylinders.
Operation is logical, easily understood and rewarding to drive.
How to add fuel as required
- Manual – Chuck in firewood as required or shovel in the chip, hog fuel or pellets.
- Screw fed – hit the button and a shovel load of fuel is fed into the firebox. Hit the button five times and five shovel loads will be added.
The engine is connected to a two speed transmission. Low speed for field work up to 20 kph and high speed for road work up to 40 kph. A reverse gear and clutch is not necessary as the engine stops and reverses easily. Drive is through a differential to the wheels. A major difference to a ICE is the AgLoco® can hold maximum torque at 0 rpm indefinitely without damage or overheating.
AgLoco® incorporates a unique combustion system that eliminates 100% of the smoke and spark emissions normally associated with solid bio-fuel combustion. Tractor exhaust spark emissions are unacceptable and the elimination of this is a key feature of an AgLoco®. The new steam generating system at the heart of an AgLoco® has been engineered, validated and independently peer reviewed over the last six years.
100 years ago steam tractors relied on a heavy boiler that contained a large amount of superheated water. The consequences were usually fatal if the boiler failed. Our revolutionary technology which contains only a small volume of superheated water, eliminates both the excessive weight and the possibility of an explosion. This means steam pressure can be raised in as little as 15 minutes and ground compaction is no higher than modern diesel tractors.