Thursday, 19 September 2019 11:13

Not all hot air

Written by  Mark Daniel
New Holland's Low Carbon Tractor. New Holland's Low Carbon Tractor.

Already ahead of the game with its methane-powered tractor, New Holland Agriculture has unveiled the first prototype of its Low Carbon Tractor (LoCT).

The tractor’s development is partially funded by The Advanced Propulsion Centre UK and led by CNH Industrial and its powertrain brand, FPT Industrial. The project is aimed at manufacturing a commercially viable tractor capable of running on bio-methane, while complying with the latest EU and US emission standards.

New Holland and FPT industrial, who already have 20 years experience in the natural gas sector, have partnered with Eminox, an exhaust gas after-treatment specialist; Zircotec, a thermal management and ceramic coating expert; and engineering consultants Ricardo.

Sean Holland, head of tractor product management at New Holland, says the LoCT project fits with the brand’s work already completed in alternative fuels in agriculture. 

“The collaboration will aim to develop a commercially viable tractor that can operate on sustainable, locally sourced bio-methane,” he said. 

He says this will be the vital link in closing the ‘virtuous cycle’ of an energy independent farm, where farmers use waste products to produce fuel with carbon neutrality.

Each of the project partners brings special expertise to the development: Eminox has 35 years of exhaust engineering know-how, particularly in crafting specific systems for vehicles. Zircotec, a spin-off from the UK Atomic Energy Authority, knows how to deal with the extra heat produced by a gas-powered engine versus its diesel counterpart. 

And Ricardo will figure out the engine installation, fuel tank systems and exhaust components to fit current tractor offerings.

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