New Holland begins launch of methane-powered tractor

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New Holland Agriculture North America has announced the U.S. launch of the world’s first production T6 Methane Power tractor. The launch is a culmination of a multiyear development project to create and bring to market a tractor lineup that furthers the use of more sustainable fuel sources in U.S. agriculture.

The T6 Methane Power delivers the performance of its diesel equivalent –the same power at 180 hp, torque at 740 Nm and durability –with the added advantage of up to 30% reduction in running costs. It also offers operators fuel flexibility and can run on either biomethane or compressed natural gas (CNG).

Compared to emission limits allowed under European Stage V emission regulations, the T6 Methane Power produces 98% less particulate matter. When running biomethane, it can provide a 10 to 15% reduction in CO2 for a negative emission profile. A simple, maintenance-free, three-way catalyst is used for aftertreatment, eliminating the need for exhaust gas recirculation and selective catalytic reduction components, as well as diesel exhaust fluid.

“The T6.180 Methane Power is the result of New Holland’s pioneering work on the use of alternative fuels through our Clean Energy Leader strategy. It is a significant step forward on the path to decarbonizing agriculture, and it is happening now, as the development of this sustainable tractor has reached its production phase. It is commercially available to our customers beginning this 2022 season,” commented Michael Cornman, livestock and dairy segment manager for New Holland Agriculture North America.

The T6 Methane Power features an all-new NEF 6.7-litre engine specifically developed for agricultural applications by FPT Industrial and benefits from the company’s 20+ years of experience in natural gas powertrain technology development. To date, FPT Industrial has produced more than 50,000 natural gas engines.

On the T6 Methane Power, the gas tanks with 49 gallons of capacity are stored in the same position as the diesel tanks on the standard T6 model. This maintains the excellent visibility from the cab and results in no restrictions in access. Fuel storage under the cab has been optimized, ensuring current production tire size offerings and track width settings. Additional options such as mid-mount valves are also available. For extended periods between fill ups, the front-mounted range extender offers an additional 71 gallons of fuel capacity with a bolted connection to a port on the front of the tractor. The tractor is also fitted with gas connection points at the front and rear, enabling additional fuel storage that could be mounted on trailers and implements.

The T6 Methane Power tractor is a key element in New Holland’s Energy Independent Farm concept, closing the loop of a true circular economy, from fields to energy generation and back to fields, a complete CO2-neutral cycle.

Farmers can grow energy crops and use agricultural waste to generate biomethane and power their T6 Methane Power tractor with this sustainable fuel to achieve near-zero CO2 emissions. Livestock and dairy farmers can take this virtuous cycle even further by producing biomethane from manure, which subtracts CO2 from the environment, resulting in a carbon-negative footprint.

Farmers can also use the byproducts of bio digestion as natural fertilizers on their fields, orchards, or vineyards, closing the circular economy loop.

The T6 Methane Power tractor will make its public U.S. debut at this week’s World Ag Expo in Tulare, California.

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Saul Wordsworth is deputy editor of the iVT brand - which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and Off-Highway Annual, as well as ivtinternational.com. He is a keen cyclist and lives in north London.

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