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In an effort to minimise greenhouse emissions, New Holland Agriculture recently announced the T7 Methane Power LNG – the world's first tractor powered entirely by cow dung

New Holland T7 Methane Power LNG Tractor 630551 1New Holland T7 Methane Power LNG Tractor. (Image source: CNH Industrial)

In collaboration with Bennamann, a UK company based in Cornwall, New Holland created a concept tractor running completely on liquified natural gas (LNG)

The process involves converting captured methane emissions from cow dung which are then pumped into large tanks where anaerobic organisms gradually break down the slurry into biogas. The biogas is then collected and purified into biomethane which can later be used in farms in place of natural gas. Either this, or it can be compressed into LNG and stored in cryogenic tanks at temperatures as low as -162°C, to be sold off as a product, or used directly to run specially tailored engines. The remaining solid waste is used as fertiliser. 

A farm’s carbon footprint is a major factor in determining its sustainability, and farmers still need powerful tractors that can run around the clock. Natural gas, especially biomethane, are presently the ideal solutions to guarantee higher horsepower machine performance, while also lowering emissions and reducing operating costs. The T7 Methane Power LNG will more than double the autonomy compared to a CNG design while boosting overall farm sustainability. In comparison to the T6 Methane Power CNG, this is a fourfold increase in fuel capacity. 

However, although being an efficient and effective way of reducing greenhouse emissions, the process of converting methane emissions from cow dung to LNG is not entirely a clean process since the tractor exhaust still produces carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Nevertheless, in comparision to fuel-operating tractors, methane-powered tractors produce significantly better environmental results.