In 1900 when Rudolf Diesel presented his ignition engine at the World Exhibition in Paris, it was designed to run on peanut oil. The fact that this launch took place in France, makes it interesting that over a century later Europe's leading lawnmower manufacturer based in that country should now be pioneering new technology to fuel their ride-on rotaries with Pure Plant Oil (Bio Oil Fuel). This fuel is produced from crops with a high level of potential energy such as oil seed rape or sunflowers - 'flower power" now takes on a different meaning in the bid to reduce carbon emissions!
Although still in the prototype stage, Etesia has again come up with another industry first. They have branded this innovative eco-friendly initiative the 'Bio Concept'.
During the early stages of development the company's Research & Development team recognized that an engine run on vegetable oil tends to "gum up", especially when cold - the resin build-up eventually causes serious damage. Etesia has overcome this problem by developing a dual ignition system whereby the unit is initially fired up and runs for a few seconds on diesel supplied from a small fuel tank. When the temperature reaches around 200 degrees, an electro-valve automatically switches supply to the main Bio Oil Fuel tank to enable normal mowing and other tasks to be carried out. Once the operator has completed his work, he switches back to diesel for the last couple of minutes to allow the fuel to clean through the engine.
During 2007, Bio Concept Hydro ride-on rotaries have been put to the test in the Cities of Lyons and Paris, where local authorities have been successfully cutting and collecting grass with Etesia mowers fuelled by rapeseed oil. During these extensive trials the machines experienced little or no loss of power and performance remained unchanged. Fuel consumption matched that of diesel and emissions were considerably reduced.
So positive have been the results that Paris has now ordered a number of these machines to add to their fleet.
Now, with the proven technology to run their Hydro ride-ons on 100% Bio Oil produced entirely from pressed vegetable matter, Etesia demonstrates their commitment to lead the way forward in the rotary lawnmower industry, and, save our planet, naturally.
Because the Bio Concept is still so new, Etesia envisages that future production of these revolutionary Bio Oil Fuelled Hydro ride-ons will take place on a supply and demand basis - they could be available during 2008. The complexity of the necessary modifications means that there is no possibility of adapting existing mowers so all machines will have to be new-build.