The John Deere 5410 tractor is the first of its kind, configured with a propane fuel delivery system featuring a lean-burn combustion system and electronic controls to deliver reduced emissions, which are below Tier 3 requirements. Not yet commercially available, the tractor's propane components have been designed to fit in existing machinery with minimal changes. The propane engine was tested and evaluated in four categories-power, fuel consumption, emissions and noise measurements. The engine passed all expectations by demonstrating fuel efficiency along with 68% lower emissions and 50% noise reduction compared with diesel engines.

"Lower emission will become extremely important when stricter EPA Tier 3 regulations go into effect for off-road vehicles in 2008," says PERC Agriculture Programs Manager Mark Leitman.

Tier 3 emission standards that will be mandated in 2008 will restrict off-road equipment emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and non-methane hydrocarbons. In addition, new regulations will reduce particulate matter (PM). The new propane engine will reduce emission levels to meet these requirements. The propane engine reduces NOx emissions by more then 50% compared with a diesel engine. PM is reduced by over 90%.

This new engine is just one of the strategic priorities in PERC's Propane Agriculture Roadmap to educate farmers and the agricultural community on the competitive and environmental advantages of propane for off-road applications.

"PERC is focusing its efforts on funding research and development of new and efficient propane equipment to provide growers with effective and cost-saving farming alternatives. This engine is just the first step to demonstrating that propane is a viable fuel for off-road agricultural equipment," says Leitman. "Propane is an extremely clean fuel, making it an excellent alternative for growers who are environmentally conscious."

In addition to being able to produce lower emissions, propane is a safe energy choice that is nontoxic and insoluble in water, which minimizes the risk of water and soil contamination. Underground tanks can safely store propane, making it a convenient choice for remote agricultural uses, while portable tanks allow farmers the flexibility to power machinery anywhere on the farm. "New technologies are constantly being developed that make propane an efficient and cost-effective alternative for growers. Crop drying and pest control along with many other applications can be done cost effectively with propane," explained Leitman.

PERC's vision for agricultural is that by 2010, the agricultural industry will recognize propane as a preferred energy source offering exceptional value. This value is achieved through a unique combination of product benefits, including cost effectiveness, efficiency and productivity, safety, reliability, portability, and environmental friendliness. To get more information on PERC and its programs to promote the safe and efficient use of propane in agriculture, call 202-452-8975 or visit www.usepropane.com.