Known for its innovation DNA, FPT Industrial has been exploring new territories in sustainable fuels with recent tests of macauba biodiesel in agriculture tractors. This is an R&D project being carried out at FPT’s Technical Center in Betim, Brazil.

Macauba is a palm tree native of the tropical regions in the Americas. The plant is already used for house building, craftwork and in the pharmaceutical industry, and it is now being used for the experimental production of biodiesel.

FPT invested in a production plan and tests dedicated to this experiment. The base for the first tests was the macauba oil provided from a cooperative of small farmers. Then, the biodiesel was produced in an experimental plant, complying with all the standards established by the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels. Using the N67 engine, the tests showed similar performance and consumption to the Brazilian commercial diesel, tending to reduce carbon monoxide (CO) and Particulate Matter (PM) emissions. The next step is to test the new biofuel in trucks, buses and power generators.

The macauba palm has a productivity ten times higher than soy and is being planted for the recovery of degraded soils and rivers. The fruit harvesting is a source of income for small farmers and, after the oil extraction, the pulp pie can be used to feed cattle. In the future, these same producers will be able to generate their own macauba biodiesel in the cooperatives and power the tractors, reducing environmental impact and operating costs.