Eco farming concept closes the loop

by Andy Bryenton

This year saw a new category instigated in the Tractor of the Year awards at Europe’s Agritechnica — a top prize for sustainable tractors. The inaugural winner goes above and beyond reducing fuel consumption or relying on electricity alone, however.

New Holland decided to take a whole-farm approach with their T6 tractor concept. It means a closed-loop, removing harmful gases from the atmosphere and using them instead to power a full-sized, diesel equivalent working tractor. As their engineer explains:

“The T6 Methane Power tractor is a key element in New Holland’s Energy Independent Farm Concept, closing the loop of a true circular economy, from fields to energy generation and back to fields in a complete CO2—neutral cycle.”

“Farmers can grow energy crops and use agricultural waste to generate biomethane, and power their T6 Methane Power tractor with this sustainable fuel, achieving near-zero CO2 emissions. Livestock and dairy farmers can take this virtuous cycle even further by producing biomethane from manure, which subtracts CO2 from the environment, resulting in a carbon-negative footprint. Farmers can also use the by-products of biodigestion as natural fertilisers on their fields, closing the circular economy loop.”

Yes, that’s right; the future of farming propulsion may very well be based on poo.

An issue, which has caused massive consternation and arguments over taxation, legislation and farming costs may be swept away by new technology, turning allegedly climate-cooking waste into efficient fuel.

It’s no weakling wither, delivering 180hp and 720Nm of torque with 30 per cent less running costs than an equivalent common rail turbo diesel. Of course, there’s an investment of biomethane producing infrastructure along with the tractor itself.

However, in the long run, this could be the way all farming is done.