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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.


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
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