CASE creates a breakthrough in sustainable construction as it reveals the world’s first wheel loader which runs entirely on alternative and renewable fuel.
ProjectTETRA, CASE’s methane-powered wheel loader concept, demonstrates a clear pathway to a renewable future for construction equipment, shifting away from a reliance on the traditional diesel engine and addressing one of the world’s most pressing issues - environmental sustainability - with a pragmatic solution for the construction industry.
ProjectTETRA reimagines wheel loader design, marking a clear departure from anything seen in construction equipment to date. The concept includes a methane-powered engine, specially designed and developed by sister brand FPT Industrial for construction applications. With a maximum 230hp, it delivers the same power and torque as its equivalent diesel engine found in the CASE 821G wheel loader.
It’s powered by biomethane which is produced in biodigesters from waste products such as waste food, wood chippings and animal waste. With carbon-neutral production, biomethane provides a closed-loop, virtuous energy cycle, converting waste into useful energy.
“We’ve been researching sustainable fuel sources for our construction machinery for many years,” explained Carl Gustaf Goränsson, President of Construction. “Biomethane was the most logical choice for the wheel loader. We needed a fuel that could provide the drive and power that our customers demand. The fuel needed to be readily available, easy to refuel and power through a full day of work. We wouldn’t comprise on performance, so we set our designers quite a challenge".
“We were fortunate to work very closely with sister brand FPT Industrial, pioneers in developing sustainably-fuelled powertrains, with over 40,000 gas-powered engines produced to date. This technology is already tried and tested in other CNH Industrial brands as there are some 28,000 methane-powered IVECO trucks and IVECO BUS vehicles on the roads today.”
ProjectTETRA not only uses a sustainable energy source but also benefits the environment in other ways. The methane-powered wheel loader concept produces 95% less CO2 when running on biomethane, 90% less nitrogen dioxides and 99% lower particulate matter than a diesel-powered equivalent. It delivers an 80% reduction in overall emissions and also achieves a 50% reduction in drive-by noise levels.
“We don’t believe in developing technology for technology’s sake,” continued Goränsson. “Our innovations must solve real-world challenges in a simple and straightforward way. ProjectTETRA is suited to do so in common job sites; agricultural environments, waste handling centres and recycling businesses are perfect locations for a biogas production plant, providing a free source of fuel for the machines working on site.”
“But biomethane isn’t the only option,” explains Goränsson. “ProjectTETRA will run on network methane too, providing access to lower emissions than diesel, even if onsite biomethane production is not an option. This is important as we see changing regulations in some regions.”
An exclusive partnership with Michelin led to the development of innovative airless concept tyres for ProjectTETRA. Constructed from pure rubber and a patented composite material in a honeycomb spoke design, the tyre/wheel fusion also features built-in suspension.
The lightweight and robust structure has been designed to withstand the extreme conditions present in construction environments. In addition, the airless tyres reduce overall machine weight and a large footprint delivers low contact pressure. Advanced connectivity is achieved with integrated sensors, providing a stream of real-time data to both the operator and the control room. When active, the integrated sidewall lights are illuminated and also function as an additional safety feature.
All machine data is automatically communicated to the control centre, allowing for on-the-job updates and optimisation to increase machine efficiency.