The tractor is a first result of the LoCT project, partly funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK (APC UK) and led by the global capital goods company CNH Industrial together with its agricultural brand New Holland and its powertrain brand FPT Industrial. The project aims to design a commercially viable tractor capable of operation on biomethane while complying with the latest European and US emissions standards. New Holland and FPT Industrial, which has pioneered natural gas traction for more than 20 years, are partnering with Eminox, an exhaust after-treatment technology specialist, Zircotec, a thermal management and ceramic coating specialist, and Ricardo, an engineering consultant specialising in technology, project innovation and strategy.
Sean Lennon, New Holland’s Head of Tractor Product Management, stated: “The LoCT project fits within New Holland’s pioneering work in the use of alternative fuels in agriculture. In collaboration with our partners, we aim to develop a commercially viable tractor that can operate on sustainable locally sourced biomethane. This is the vital link that closes the virtuous cycle of the Energy Independent FarmTM, which sees farmers producing fuel from waste products, taking sustainability all the way to possible carbon neutrality. APC funding is critical to ensuring the commercialization of a truly sustainable low carbon and fully practical tractor in the UK, as it is enabling us to take an earlier innovation further towards a fully commercial solution.”
Eminox is contributing to the project its 35 years of exhaust engineering expertise, from design and manufacture, in the application of specific exhaust systems to fit precisely in the available vehicle space envelope. It is also bringing the extensive experience, which it has developed working with CNH Industrial, in the heavy-duty application of gas engines in commercial vehicles.
Zircotec, originally spun out of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and now operating independently, is providing its expertise on the management of the heat generated by the gas engine in tractors, which is considerably higher than in an equivalent diesel engine, while respecting the packaging constraints and mission profiles of the agricultural tractor.
Ricardo is providing engineering support with the integration of the gas engine, fuel tanks, exhaust system and associated parts into the current New Holland agricultural tractor offering.