NEW Holland Agriculture has released the latest development in its vision for the sustainable future of farming.
It’s a methane-powered concept tractor that re-imagines the design of this machine and reveals a connected future.
The brand imagines the farm of the future as being completely energy independent – a farm that produces not only food, but also the biomass it needs to generate the energy it uses to run its operations and power its tractors and other machinery.
Such a self-sufficient future is achievable today, with New Holland’s advanced technology and vision.
According to New Holland Agriculture brand president Carlo Lambro, the methane-powered concept tractor is the latest development in New Holland’s pursuit of sustainable and efficient technology through innovation.
“It’s ground-breaking engine delivers the same performance and has the same durability as its standard equivalent, but with much lower running costs,” Mr Lambro said.
“It combines alternative fuels and advanced agricultural technology to create a vital link that closes the loop in the energy independent farm’s virtuous cycle by running on the energy produced from the land and waste products.”
New Holland has been pushing the boundaries of innovation in clean energy solutions for more than a decade through its Clean Energy Leader strategy.
It was the first manufacturer to offer 100 per cent compatibility with biodiesel in 2006.
In 2009 it developed the world’s first hydrogen tractor concept, NH2, proving the feasibility of this zero-emission technology for the future.
This was a key element of the brand’s energy independent farm concept, launched at the same time.
New Holland continued to explore alternative fuels that would deliver reduced emissions and lower running costs.
In 2012, it created its first propane-fueled tractor prototype and is now developing the T6 Propane Power tractor in partnership with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC).
In 2013, New Holland presented its first T6 methane-power tractor prototype, which has been developed further and tested with customers.
The latest model saves up to 30 per cent fuel of its diesel equivalent and builds on the foundations of the previous T6 methane-power prototypes to achieve a significant technological advance.
It features a powertrain that uses a ground-breaking efficient combustion technology specifically developed for agricultural applications by FPT Industrial, a brand of CNH Industrial that has pioneered natural gas traction for more than 20 years.
The six-cylinder NEF methane engine delivers 134kW (180hp) and 740Nm – the same power and torque as its standard diesel equivalent.
It has the same durability and service intervals and the innovative tank design, using a composite layered tubular structure, enables a full day’s autonomy in line with an equivalent diesel model.
The powertrain of the methane-powered concept tractor has the added benefit of quiet operation, with engine noise level reduced by up to 3dBA.
This translates to about 50pc reduction in drive-by-noise, which makes it ideal for municipality, yard and transport operations.
In real field conditions, the methane-powered concept tractor produces at least 10pc lower carbon dioxide emissions and reduces overall emissions by 80pc compared to a standard diesel tractor.
Its environmental performance further improves when fuelled by bio-methane, produced from crop residues and waste from farm-grown energy crops, which results in virtually zero carbon dioxide emissions.
The methane-powered concept tractor, forms a vital link in the virtuous cycle that delivers carbon dioxide neutral production, where the energy independent farm produces the energy it needs to power its operations, heat farm buildings and run its equipment.
Bio-methane as a sustainable fuel is particularly well-suited to farms, as they have the raw materials and the space to house a bio-digester to produce the gas.
The bio-digester is fed with specifically-grown energy crops, animal waste, food waste or crop residues.
It can use waste collected from food factories, supermarkets and restaurants in addition to the materials gathered at the farm.
The biogas produced in the bio-digester is transferred to a refining station where it is transformed into fuel-grade methane to power the farm’s vehicles and machinery.
The methane can also be used to fuel a generator to produce electricity that can be used on the farm with any extra fed into the electricity grid to power local communities.
The by-products of bio-digestion can be used as natural fertilisers on the farm’s fields.
The New Holland methane-powered concept tractor closes the virtuous cycle of the Energy Independent Farm.
It combines visionary design concepts with advanced technologies, extended connectivity and reliable powertrain technology that are already available, fuelling innovation to offer a glimpse into a sustainable future of efficient and productive farming.