GASSED UP: New Holland has completed testing of its 100 per cent methane powered tractor in Europe.

Methane powered tractor digs in

New Holland has completed testing of its 100 per cent methane powered tractor in Europe.

DEVELOPMENT of New Holland’s innovative 100 per cent methane powered tractor continues to make progress.

The second generation T6.180 methane power tractor prototype has completed extensive testing across Europe, while the first generation T6.140 has begun a new testing cycle in Brazil. 

As New Holland celebrates the 100th years of its first mass-produced tractor, the latest prototype was on show at SIMA 2017, an international agribusiness show in Paris.

The second generation prototype has been extensively tested by customers in Italy, Spain, the UK, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands as well as three young farmers from Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria. 

The first generation T6.140 methane power tractor prototype is involved in a joint project between New Holland and Itaipu Binacional, a leader in clean and renewable energy production.

A New Holland T6.180 methane power tractor in action at Wyke Farms, one of the UK’s biggest Cheddar cheese producers.

The prototype is touring farms and agricultural cooperatives in the West Paraná region in Brazil, where it is field tested to collect data on the viability of bio-methane as a fuel for agricultural equipment. The project also includes a series of activities aimed at promoting the development of a supply chain for biogas generated from urban and agricultural organic waste. 

The T6 methane power tractor is also playing an important role in raising awareness of the opportunities of alternative fuels for a sustainable agriculture, by making public appearances at a variety of events. For example, the first generation T6.140 was on display at one of the most important agricultural shows in Latin America, Expointer 2016, which was held last September in Porto Alegre, Brazil.  

The T6.180 on display at the SIMA show is fitted with a NEF6 engine produced by FPT Industrial and its configuration is very similar to that of currently manufactured diesel tractors. The compressed methane is stored in nine tanks that are integrated into the overall design, with operational ground clearance as per standard models.

The 52kg tank capacity delivers about half a day of autonomy during normal operation. The methane power tractor yields fuel cost savings up to 25pc compared with diesel or agricultural diesel machines and has 80pc lower polluting emissions than a standard diesel tractor.

It is already capable of fulfilling future greenhouse gas targets, which are expected to require a 20pc reduction across Europe by 2020. CO2 emissions reductions and up to 40pc fuel cost savings can be further achieved by using biomethane produced on the farm itself. 

Brand president Carlo Lambro said the T6 methane power tractor was a cornerstone of New Holland’s clean energy leader strategy, which was launched 10 years ago to increase farming efficiency and sustainability.

“At New Holland we saw early on that alternative fuels are key to achieving a low carbon future for agriculture, and we have invested accordingly,” Mr Lambro said.

“Today we see methane and propane as the fuels with the greatest potential for the development of technologies that deliver on all fronts: performance, costs and sustainability.”

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