Rebecca Audsley, Farming for a Better Climate project lead, SAC Consulting.
Working with Focus Farmers across Scotland, we looked at practical ways to improve farm efficiency and reduce emissions. One of the innovative solutions on trial was the hydrogen electrolyser, retrofitted to farm vehicles. With the cost of fuel unlikely to fall significantly, now seems a good time to revisit.
A hydrogen electrolyser enables vehicles to run on a combination of diesel and hydrogen. Fitted to vehicles with a conventional diesel engine, the hydrogen electrolyser claims to improve fuel efficiency whilst reducing emissions.
The kit itself is about half the size of a small suitcase and consists of an electrolyser, a control unit and a water reservoir (using distilled water). The electrolyser effectively “splits” water into oxygen and hydrogen by passing an electrical current through distilled water and collecting the gases. Rather than trying to collect gases separately, the system collects “oxyhydrogen” which is injected into the conventional diesel engine. Introducing the oxyhydrogen results in more efficient fuel combustion, a reduction in fuel use and subsequently lower emissions. Fitted to a farm telehandler during the trial period, the kit resulted in a fuel saving of 20%, which was a reduction of over 1000 litres fuel per year.
As Farming for a Better Climate moves forward, we are looking to carry out more on-farm trials and demonstrations of new and emerging technology that could, if proven, really make a difference to productivity and help further drive down farm emissions. We are currently developing our programme, but what would you like to see trialled and tested on a working farm? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org – we would love to hear from you.
Farming for a Better Climate is funded by Scottish Government and delivered by SAC Consulting. This article was first published in the February 2023 issue of the Farming Scotland magazine