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New Holland's new tractor powered by cow farts

New Holland’s T6 Methane Power tractor is the world’s first factory-ready, methane-powered tractor, designed to further the use of more sustainable fuel sources. 

The T6 Methane Power model is New Holland’s newest addition to the T6 series of tractors and their next step toward a completely carbon-neutral farming cycle. This tractor will “close the loop” on energy production and use, with a field to energy generation, back to field cycle. 

With the T6 Methane Power, farmers can grow energy crops, use agricultural waste or manure to generate biomethane fuel for this tractor. Livestock and dairy farmers can take this cycle even further when producing biomethane from manure, subtracting CO2 from the environment, resulting in a carbon-negative footprint. Farmers can then use the by-products of biodigestion as natural fertilizers on their fields, which closes the energy loop.

“The T6.180 Methane Power is the result of New Holland’s pioneering work on the use of alternative fuels through our Clean Energy Leader strategy,” says Michael Cornman, livestock and dairy segment manager for New Holland Agriculture North America. “It is a significant step forward on the path to decarbonizing agriculture, and it is happening now, as the development of this sustainable tractor has reached its production phase. It is commercially available to our customers beginning this 2022 season.”

High performance, low cost

The FPT industrial engine used in the T6 Methane Power tractor.
Photo credit: New Holland

The T6 Methane Power runs on an all-new 6.7-liter engine specifically developed for agricultural applications by FPT Industrial. It has a rated engine horsepower of 145 hp., with a max boosted engine speed of 175 hp. 

Even with a new fuel source, the T6 Methane Power tractor can match the power of its diesel equivalents, with the added benefit of up to 30% reduction in running costs.

“It’s going to perform the exact same way,” says Joe Bufford, product marketing manager for New Holland. “So it will have the same power, the same torque as the diesel equivalent. […] Performance will be identical.”

The engine is also capable of running on compressed natural gas, allowing for fuel flexibility if biomethane isn’t readily available.

A simple, maintenance-free, three-way catalyst is used for exhaust aftertreatment, eliminating the need for exhaust gas recirculation and selective catalytic reduction components, as well as diesel exhaust fluid. 

The gas tank on the T6 Methane Power has 49 gallons of capacity and is located in the same position as the tank on the regular T6 models. This maintains visibility from the cab and creates no restrictions in access. Fuel storage under the cab has been optimized, ensuring current production tire size offerings and track width settings. 

Additional options such as mid-mount valves are also available. For extended periods between fill-ups, the optional front-mounted range extender offers an additional 71 gallons of fuel capacity with a bolted connection to a port on the front of the tractor. The tractor is also fitted with gas connection points at the front and rear for additional fuel storage mounted on trailers or implements. 

The New Holland T6 Methane Power tractor.
Photo credit: New Holland

In the cab

The T6 cab is equipped with a semi-powershift transmission for clutchless gear changes. With the AutoShift transmission, shifting is taken care of for you. The multifunction handle has powershift buttons as well as controls for front linkage and a turn sequence. 

The tractor features high, all-around visibility with a total 63 square feet of glass, including a glass roof panel. It also has a low 69-decibel noise level in addition to the already 5 decibel-quieter engine. An optional cab suspension system with two rubber isolators at the front corners of the cab and a sway bar with two spring-loaded shock absorbers at the rear keep the ride smooth and comfortable. Multiple available seat options are available to choose from to fit the level of comfort you want in the cab.

Availability

The T6 Methane Power tractor will be available for order with limited availability in July. The tractors are expected to hit dealer lots sometime in early 2023. Public debut is at the 2022 World Ag Expo, February 8-10, 2022, in Tulare, California.

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