New Holland has unveiled a prototype T7 methane power tractor that runs on a liquified version of the gas to give longer working times to a fill.
Thanks to the greater density of liquid natural gas (LNG), the new tractor has four times the fuel storage of the firm’s existing methane-powered T6, which uses compressed gas (CNG).
The main piece of technology responsible for this is a temperature-controlled fuel system developed by Cornish firm Bennamann.
This keeps the volatile liquid at a constant -164C to prevent it boiling and venting to the atmosphere.
Cleverly, this cryogenic storage unit has been designed to fit in the same space as the tractor’s original diesel tank, so there’s no need to festoon the tractor with additional vessels.
Having 270hp on tap sees it deliver the same power and torque figures as its diesel equivalent, meaning future buyers shouldn’t have to compromise on output.
For peak environmental credentials, the tractor can be run on so-called “fugitive” methane released from muck and slurry lagoons, which is purified and liquified before being piped into the tractor.
Bennamann has already developed the technology to do this, which it is trialling on several Cornish dairy farms.
The prototype is based heavily on New Holland’s existing long-wheelbase T7.270, but there have been several notable changes.
These include fitting the six-cylinder FPT engine with a three-way catalytic converter in place of the usual AdBlue system, performing some subtle tweaks to the bodywork and treating it to a natty new paint job.