With energy generated from renewable sources predicted to be among the major sources of power in the next decade, a company in the Philippines is tackling the challenge head-on and turning trash into a highly prized commodity.
Biopower is constructing three biomass power stations on Negros, the fourth largest island of the Philippines, with the aim of producing a total of 72 megawatts of green baseload power to feed into the local grid as well as for export to surrounding islands.
The key to this clean, green energy is the waste products from the harvest of the local sugarcane crop, the trash that would previously have been left on the ground once the sugarcane was taken from the fields. The collection of this waste is a crucial part of Biopower’s operation and one they’ve entrusted to Case IH, one of the world’s leading agricultural machinery brands.
“The cane farmers leave the trash after the harvest, and we move into the field with our equipment and collect it, taking it to the power station for burning in a controlled environment to produce electricity,” said Paul Coveny, Vice-President Biomass Operations and Materials Management for Biopower.
Tractors and other associated machinery need to collect the trash and get it to the power station as quickly and efficiently as possible, Paul said, and Case IH is delivering on every one of these requirements.
Paul said when looking for an equipment supplier, they recognised Case IH’s position as a leading provider of technology solutions, with a state-of-the-art machinery line-up that assisted Biopower in sustaining the fuel supply necessary for their electricity obligations.
The company has purchased over 100 Case IH machines including Farmlift telehandlers and Farmall, Maxxum and Puma tractors through Filholland, the distributor of Case IH machinery in the Philippines.
“Our operation has a very small window to do what we need to do, so we needed reliable tractors that could operate continuously, 24 hours a day,” Paul said.
“The technology in these Case IH tractors has given us that reliability, and along with the support of Filholland, they deliver what we need in the short time we have.”
For the Biopower staff who operate the fleet of Case IH tractors, there’s no doubting their satisfaction with the machines. Paul said the operators regularly commented on the ease of operation, power and speed of the tractors, and the technology features that made their job easier. Staff also had high praise for the training offered by Filholland on the tractors and telehandlers.
Biopower has also been able to install GPS-trackers and data loggers into the tractor fleet that identify each machine’s location and provide detailed information on what they’re doing and how they’re doing it at any given time—it basically provides a live, real-time overview of the entire operation.
The Case IH Farmall JX is one of the models used in the Biopower operation, a small tractor designed with manoeuvrability, visibility and handling top of mind. Powered by an upgraded 8000 Series, Tier 3 turbo-charged engine to provide optimum fuel efficiency and maximum power, the Farmall JX also offers logically-positioned controls with clear, concise instrumentation that make tasks less arduous when in the field all day.
Paul said the performance of the Case IH tractors and telehandlers had been everything they’d expected and this, coupled with the 24-hour service and support, service updates and training provided by Filholland, confirmed they’d made the right choice.
When it came to running a high-pressure, round-the-clock operation like that of Biopower, Paul said, it was reassuring to have the peace of mind of reliable machinery, and support and assistance when and where it was needed.
“My experience in the sugar industry in Australia means I’ve seen a lot of Case IH equipment, and know the reputation of their tractors and harvesters, so I had the confidence in the brand to introduce it here onto Negros,” Paul said.
“Case IH is well-known worldwide, and with a good partner like Filholland I’d have no hesitation in recommending their products to anyone in the Philippines.
“The brand has a great support network, it’s a quality product and that’s important when you’re running any business.”