It seems so obvious, but until recently the most efficient use of biogas, on the farm to provide the fuel to power the farm vehicles which devour the most fuel on the farm, was simply not done. Tractors which ran on biogas had not been developed as an off the shelf item, and it was only in the summer of 2012, at the AD and Biogas (Now Bioenergy) Exhibition that the first biogas tractor was placed on public view*.
For the last 5 years or so the media has been keen to write articles about buses which run on biogas, dubbing them as “human waste powered”, and some have described their biogas fuel source a lot more crudely than that, to attract more attention from the public!
Worthy though biogas powered buses and transport fleets are, when biogas is produced on-farm, the carbon footprint will be far less for farms that power their own tractors using their own fuel.
Furthermore, why would a farm manager seek to import fossil fuel derived diesel fuel, rather than use the biogas product of their own business? Oil brought into the farm must be transported from the oil refinery at a real cost, and although the tax on farm diesel fuel may be low or non-existent in many nations bought-in fuel is still a consideration for its negative effect on cash flow when each invoice lands on the accountant's desk, as an outgoing.
Now, we have news from New Holland tractors which is very good news for the biogas industry, and with the large numbers of on-farm biogas plants now planned and under construction more tractor suppliers are bound to follow.
New Holland highlights methane-powered biogas tractor
Biomass Magazine–Nov 4, 2015The alternative fuel technology powering that tractor is a promising peek into the future of agriculture, one where farms will be energy independent and able to reduce their environmental footprint.
The T6 Methane Power tractor is a second-generation prototype based on a standard New Holland T6 tractor. What makes it different from current T6 Series tractors is that it is powered by a natural gas engine manufactured by FPT International, a sister company of New Holland…
And, also about this innvative biomethane powered tractor:
Image by Biogas Tour 2013 via Flickr [Original attribution link provided is no longer avialable.]
Steyr launches first biogas-powered tractor
The dream of a tractor that can run – without engine alterations – on fuel produced on the farm took a step closer…
Steyr introduces first production natural gas tractor with FPT engine; diesels with SCR and idle speed management
2 December 2011: Steyr has introduced the first production tractor powered by natural gas. The new Steyr Profi 4135 Natural Power is equipped with a turbocharged mono-fuel CNG engine, made by Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT), another Fiat group company. (Steyr is part of CNH Global N.V., a majority-owned subsidiary of Fiat Industrial S.p.A., and was originally formed by the merger of Case Corp. and New Holland in 1999.)
The engine is a 3.0 liter, four-cylinder unit, producing 100 kW/136 hp rated, 105 kW/143 hp max power and a maximum torque of 542 N·m (400 lb-ft) at transmission input shaft. Gas storage is handled in nine fuel tanks, with a capacity of 300 liters in total.
Valtra Biogas Powered Tractor
Watch the video below: