Biomethane for first 100% sustainable wine. Cheers!

By Roberta Prandi21 February 2021

Biomethane engines by FPT Industrial are used to power the two crawler tractors that will work in the vineyard producing the Barolo La Rosa cru. 

FPT Industrial presented a partnership with the wine producer Fontanafredda, for the production of the first 100% sustainable wine: a red Barolo from the Vigna La Rosa cru, that has been included in the Wine Spectator Top 100 of the world’s best wines.

For this project, within a larger framework for energy transition funded by the Piedmont region in Northwest Italy, FPT Industrial in cooperation with New Holland Agriculture supplied two F28 natural gas engines for two New Holland TK Methane Power crawler vineyard tractors that are powered by biomethane and utilized for the vineyard work in the Fontanafredda winery. The two tractors are specialized for work in vineyards and are well equipped for dealing with the steep inclines of the 60 acres growing the Nebbiolo grapes used for Barolo red wine.

New Holland tractor with FPT Industrial biomethane engine A New Holland TK Methane Power crawler vineyard tractor, powered by FPT Industrial’s F28 engines running on biomethane is at work in the Fontanafredda winery.

This winery is located in the Langhe region, a well-known wine area in the Piedmont region where both FPT Industrial and New Holland Agriculture are headquartered.

FPT Industrial’s CEO, Annalisa Stupenengo, said that her company is proud to be participating to the project for the first zero-CO2 wine harvest the coming fall and that it is very fitting that the project happens in Langhe, an excellent territory for wine production. She reminded also that FPT Industrial is a pioneer in gas-powered engines for on-highway applications, with already more than 55,000 trucks powered by natural gas out on the roads all over the world.

The Fontanafredda estate has a fascinating history as it was founded in 1858 by Vittorio Emanuele II, first King of Italy. In 1886 the winery’s Barolo red wine was first exported across the ocean and in 1887 cement barrels from a Swiss patent were first introduced here, confirming the very forward-looking attitude of the enterprise.

In 1961 the first Barolo Crù La Rosa was bottled – interesting to mention that the name celebrates the ‘Bella Rosina’, the lovely peasant lover of Vittorio Emanuele who was given the Fontanafredda estate as a gift.

Andrea Farinetti, producer of Fontanafredda and member of the Farinetti family that founded Eataly, explained that the future of the winery is a Green Reinassance centered around the respect of the land.

Paving the road to this greener future, the farm already employs two phyto purifiers, to process and purify water avoiding waste; it uses glass bottles that can be endlessly recycled, utilizes corks made of a polymer from sugar paper, and employs only recyclable papers and cartons.

Pierpaolo Biffali, VP Product Engineering at FPT Industrial, said that the two special biomethane tractor prototypes employed at Fontanafredda use the F28 four-cylinder engine. “This is a very compact unit: a 2.8-liter that delivers a power output of 55 kW with peak torque of 330 Nm. These performances equal to those of larger engines and are absolutely identical to those of the diesel equivalent.” The F28 is designed without exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and with a three-way catalytic converter without using a diesel particulate filter or selective catalytic reduction.

Biffali added that the two biomethane prototypes have an autonomy in the fields very close to that of diesel. They use biomethane produced nearby from the anaerobic digestion of agricultural waste.

Processing biomethane using own biological waste from a farm’s activity has the advantage of avoiding the cost of disposing of waste and of being able to produce: biogas, biomethane (a further refining process of biogas) and a solid residual compound that is used as fertilizer.

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