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New Holland unveils biogas concept tractor.

New Holland Agriculture has designed a methane powered concept tractor envisaging a 'closed-loop' virtuous cycle where agriculture equipment is powered using the energy from the waste products of land and animal management.

The reimagined tractor from the CNH Industrial agricultual brand marks a break from agricultural convention and reflects the increased viability of producing fuel from waste agricultural products, and a recognition of the potential efficiency gains for the industry.

The methane powered concept features a tailored version of an FPT Industrial engine already developed for agricultural applications, and delivers a maximum power of 180hp and maximum torque of 740Nm - identical to an equivalent diesel unit.

The engine technology builds on the foundations of previous FPT Industrial prototypes and employs a form of stoichiometric combustion developed by FPT and initially introduced in 1995.

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This technology is applied across the entire natural gas engine portfolio as it enables comparative performance to diesel engines, whilst delivering ultra-low emissions and high efficiency.

Biomethane can be produced from a combination of farm-grown energy crops, crop residue and the other waste products - resulting in a fuel with a virtually neutral CO 2 profile that delivers an 80% reduction in overall emissions.

Compared to its standard diesel counterpart, the infield performance of the methane engine also reduces drive-by noise levels by 50% - making it ideal when working in the yard, around livestock or in municipal operations.

Biomethane is produced in a biodigester where material is broken down by bacteria, giving off biogas - in a two-stage fermentation process lasting around 60 days - that can eventually be refined to produce fuel-grade biomethane.

The digestate, or the liquid and solid waste plant materials collected from the digester after gas production has ceased, also has a high nutritional profile, and can subsequently be used as fertiliser.

In this way, farmers can produce their own CO 2 -neutral fuel, while protecting themselves from fluctuating oil prices and enjoying an estimated 10% to 30% reduction in running costs compared with buying petrochemical diesel.

In terms of the concept's other developments, the tractor's fuel is stored using a composite layered tubular structures fitted at the front and on the left and right of the machine that allow the vehicle to store enough fuel for a full day of work.

The cab also increases the 360-degree glazed area around the operator by 20% compared to a standard tractor, while the tractor's LED lighting package ensure visibility for the operator and by-standers.

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Publication:Construction Week
Date:Sep 4, 2017
Words:424
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