Game changer: World’s first cow-dung-powered tractor is here

During its pilot run, carbon emissions were slashed from 2,500 to 500 metric tons.
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New Holland T7 Methane Power LNG.
New Holland T7 Methane Power LNG.

CNH Industrial  

A British company has created a pioneering tractor that could be a game changer in the green energy-striving agricultural industry. 

The ground-breaking cow-dung powered 270 horsepower tractor is said to perform on par with counterparts driven by normal diesel engines, according to multiple media reports on Friday. 

"The T7 liquid methane-fuelled tractor is a genuine world-first and another step towards decarbonizing the global agricultural industry and realizing a circular economy," said Chris Mann, co-founder of Bennamann, a company that deals with methane energy products. 

Methane from cow dung, according to the company, can simply be used to make the fuel, enabling a more circular economic model.

T7 cow-dung powered tractor

Game changer: World’s first cow-dung-powered tractor is here
New Holland T7 Methane Power LNG.

The carbon footprint of a farm is a significant determinant of its sustainability. Additionally, farmers continue to want strong tractors that can run continuously. 

So, the best options available for now to ensure better horsepower machine performance while also cutting emissions and running costs are natural gas and particularly biomethane.

The pre-production model of the tractor was tested for a year to meet the requirements.

During the test run on a farm in Cornwall county, South West England, carbon dioxide emissions were reduced from 2,500 metric tons to 500 metric tons in just one year.

In a biomethane storage facility located on the farm, waste byproducts from a herd as small as 100 cows were converted into a fuel known as fugitive methane.

The tractor's cryogenic tank provides the same amount of power as a diesel but with significant emission reductions.

It will improve overall farm sustainability while more than doubling autonomy as compared to a CNG design, claims the company. 

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The tractor has a fuel capacity that is four times greater than the T6 Methane Power CNG, a previous tractor model of the company. 

For the T7 Methane Power LNG tractor, Bennamann's innovative non-venting cryogenic storage tanks maintain the methane as a liquid at -162°C, creating a new source of clean power. 

Additionally, because of the technology's capacity to transport LNG, similar to how diesel can be carried, farms without the capability to create LNG on-site can still make use of its benefits. It also permits flexible in-field refueling during busy operational windows.

The partnership

According to a press release from the company, the launch of the "T7 Methane Power LNG," the first tractor in the world to run on liquid methane, on December 9, 2022, marked another major turning point in the collaboration between Bennamann and New Holland, a producer of agricultural machinery, a division of CNH Industrial.

Both the tractor's zero-venting fuel tank and the system for producing and storing liquid fugitive methane that can be utilized on farms will be made utilizing Bennamann's ground-breaking technology and expertise.

CNH's pre-production prototype's active temperature-controlled fuel system includes a stainless-steel cryogenic tank that is carefully sculpted to resemble its diesel equivalents, making the most of available space and efficiently storing LNG inside a functioning tractor.

The farmer can easily control cutting-edge guidance programs, analyze all field data, and maintain wireless connectivity with both the field below and important locations all over the farm thanks to this prototype's PLM Intelligence-equipped PLM technology, which is also present in New Holland's full production fleet. 

By giving farmers complete operational control and the capacity to make data-driven decisions, these crucial elements further increase productivity and sustainability, according to the companies.