On August 29th, New Holland Agriculture presented in the Farm Progress Show one of its firmer bets on innovative alternative fuels solutions that pave the way for more sustainable agriculture: its new prototype methane-powered tractor. A model that combines the performance and durability of its diesel equivalent with up to 30% savings in operating costs.
The new proposal in tractors of this brand reinvents the design of these machines and reveals a connected future in which the farm will enjoy complete energy autonomy: not only produce food, but also the biomass necessary to generate the energy that allows it to realize its operations and propel their tractors and other machinery. A self-sufficient future that is now within reach of the farmer, with New Holland’s advanced technology and vision of the future.
Carlo Lambro, president of the New Holland Agriculture brand, says: “The new prototype methane tractor is the latest breakthrough in New Holland’s quest for sustainable and efficient technology through innovation. Its revolutionary motor offers the same performance and has the same durability as its standard equivalent, but its operating costs are much lower. Combining alternative fuels and advanced agricultural technology, it creates an indispensable link that closes the circle of the Energy Independent Farm ™ project, an energy-independent operation, because it works with energy from land products and waste.
New Holland has been pushing the boundaries of innovation in clean energy solutions for over a decade with its Clean Energy Leader strategy
It was the first manufacturer to offer 100% biodiesel compatibility in 2006. In 2009 it developed the world’s first prototype hydrogen powered tractor, the NH2 ™, which demonstrated the future viability of this zero emissions technology and was a key element of the Energy Independent Farm ™ concept of the brand.
New Holland continued to explore alternative fuels that could reduce emissions and operating costs. In 2012, it created its first prototype propane powered tractor and the T6 Propane Power tractor is now being developed in collaboration with the Propane Research and Education Council (PERC).
In 2013, New Holland introduced its first prototype methane-powered tractor, the Methane Power T6, which was then developed and tested with customers
New prototype methane-powered tractor
Based on the prototype T6 Methane Power, the new prototype tractor-to-methane has achieved considerable technological advancement. The powertrain uses a revolutionary and efficient combustion technology developed specifically for agricultural applications by FPT Industrial, a brand of CNH Industrial that has been leading the motor industry for more than 20 years. The 6-cylinder NEF methane engine develops a power of 180 hp and 740 Nm: the same power and torque as its standard diesel equivalent. It has the same durability and maintenance intervals, and generates up to 30% savings in operating costs. The innovative design of the tank, with a tubular structure of composite layers, provides autonomy throughout the day, in line with the equivalent diesel model.
The prototype powertrain from tractor to methane has the added advantage of being quiet, since the engine noise level has been reduced by 3 dBA. This translates into 50% less perceived noise outside, making it ideal for urban spaces, interiors and transport operations
In real field conditions, the prototype tractor-to-methane generates at least 10% less CO2 emissions and reduces total emissions by 80% compared to the standard diesel tractor. Its environmental performance improves even more when it works with biomethane generated from crop residues and energy crops produced on the farm, resulting in a level of CO2 emissions close to zero.
The methane-to-methane prototype is an essential link in the CO2-neutral production cycle, where Energy Independent Farm ™ produces the energy it needs to run its operations, heat its buildings and propel its machinery
Biomethane is a sustainable fuel that adapts especially well to agricultural holdings, since these have the raw material and the space to house a biodigestor where to produce the gas. In the biodigestor specific energy crops are introduced for this purpose, as well as animal, food or agricultural residues. In addition to the materials collected on the farm, it is also possible to process waste collected in food factories, supermarkets and restaurants. The biogas produced in the biodigester is transferred to another station where it is refined and converted into methane fuel to propel the vehicles and machines of the holding.
It is also possible to feed with methane a generator that produces electricity for exploitation; leftovers can be supplied to the grid to supply local communities. Products derived from biodigestion can be used as natural fertilizer in the fields of exploitation.
The design team of CNH Industrial has reinvented the tractor style: the body, inspired by the automotive design, seems fully integrated and highlights the emblematic elements of New Holland style, such as the dynamic air intake grilles of the hood and lights. Interesting brand designs have also been incorporated, such as the exclusive leaf-shaped seat and distinctive lights.
The wraparound body perfectly illustrates a design model fully integrated with the hood, the front and rear fenders and the fuel tank, which gives it elegance and fluidity. The complete glazing provides panoramic visibility with a 20% increase of glazed area in front of the standard tractor. The vaulted glass floating roof with fully integrated precision farming receiver is a completely panoramic design – agricultural pioneer – which offers a clear view of the front blade at all times and facilitates operations, from loading waste to feeding livestock .
The interior of the cab offers an orderly operating environment, with all the fundamental controls on the integrated armrest and additional parameters controlled through the interactive display of the roof upholstery. The frame mounted on the fixed axis of the steering wheel moves with it when it goes up or down to accommodate the size of the operator, which ensures the optimum visibility of the information of the screen in all positions.
The prototype New Holland methane-powered tractor closes the circle of the Energy Independent Farm ™ project. It combines visionary design concepts with advanced technologies, expanded connectivity and reliable powertrains, already available
Source: New Holland Agriculture