New Holland hosts low carbon tractor showcase event

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The event marks the completion of a project for the development of the New Holland Methane Power tractor, which started serial production in June 2021 at the New Holland plant in Basildon, UK.

The next step will be delivering the “Energy Independent Farm”, capable of a significant reduction in its CO footprint by capturing fugitive methane and using it as a clean fuel for its equipment.

New Holland Agriculture hosted the Advanced Propulsion Centre Showcase event at its manufacturing plant in Basildon, UK. It marked the completion of the Low Carbon Tractor Project (LOCT), which received funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) through the R&D Automotive Transformation Fund with the aim of revolutionising farming industry by developing low carbon tractor technology that utilises bio-methane, harnessing farm waste to reduce the sector’s CO2 emissions.

During the event, the project leaders from APC, New Holland and its project partners Zircotec and Eminox, gave an overview of their involvement and the future opportunities and plans for this technology. Guests at the event included representatives from the National Farmers Union, the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, the Department for International Trade, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Innovate UK, and the International Fugitive Emissions Abatement Association.

The LOCT project is the culmination of  New Holland’s work in the development of methane technology for agricultural equipment, which started with a first prototype tractor presented in 2013. With this project, over the last 4 years the brand has completed the development of the first production ready methane-powered tractor in the world.

The New Holland Methane Power Tractor started serial production at the Basildon plant in June 2021

Alternative fuels

Sean Lennon, New Holland Vice President Europe, said: “As part of our Clean Energy Leader strategy, we have been pursuing various lines of investigation in alternative fuels for agricultural equipment, and we believe that ultimately the solution for agriculture will take many forms. Today we are proud to be ready to launch to the market the first methane-powered tractor in the world, and this has been possible with the valuable support of the APC, which has helped us on our way to this achievement. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their role in making this happen. We see great potential for this technology as a solution that brings farmers environmental and financial benefits, while contributing to reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint.” Alistair Walshaw, CNH Industrial Open Innovation & APC Project Lead, added: “Thanks to the APC, with this project we have been able to reach the advanced know-how of specialists Zircotec and Eminox. Their expertise in thermal management – Zircotec in thermal barrier exhaust coatings and Eminox in exhaust after-treatment – was key to the successful outcome, because of the high temperatures involved in a machine powered by gas and the environment in which tractors work.”

The next step: towards zero carbon farming

During the event, New Holland also presented its next step in achieving its vision of enabling farmers to become energy independent. It has partnered with UK company Bennaman to deliver an Energy Independent  Farm total solution which captures the  fugitive methane released by animal  slurry  to  produce  Bio-methane  and  use  it  as  fuel  to  generate  electricity,  and  power vehicles like the Methane Power Tractor. This solution has a two-fold impact in reducing the farm’s carbon footprint: it prevents the release of fugitive methane from the farm’s slurry lagoon into the atmosphere and provides a clean fuel that reduces the tractor’s emissions compared to Diesel.

“We believe that this ‘total solution’ has very strong business and sustainability impacts for the Dairy and Livestock farmers, with the potential to provide both an additional income stream for the farm business and a significant reduction in its CO2 footprint, which should make a great contribution  to  the  net-zero  ambitions  of  agriculture,” concludes  Dr.  Chris  Mann,  Bennaman Chairman and Chief Technical Officer.

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