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Biomethane-powered tractor developed

Posted on 16 Oct 2019 and read 1343 times
Biomethane-powered tractor developedWork by Shoreham-based Ricardo for CNH Industrial — one of the world’s largest capital goods companies — forms part of the APC UK-funded Low Carbon Tractor (LoCT) project, which aims to develop a commercially viable agricultural tractor capable of running on sustainable locally sourced biomethane.

The diesel tractor is the backbone of many farming operations world-wide, offering high power and torque, as well as versatility.

However, biomethane is a fuel source that is increasingly being harnessed by many medium- to large-scale farming operations, through the process of anaerobic bio-digestion of waste vegetation.

While much of the biomethane produced by such units is used in renewable-energy generation schemes, Ricardo says “a clear potential pathway exists to produce sustainable fuel for tractors and other powered agricultural equipment, thus displacing the mineral diesel that would otherwise be used.”

In the APC UK funded LoCT project, CNH Industrial is partnering with exhaust after-treatment technology specialist Eminox and thermal management and ceramic coating specialist Zircotec.

The project aims to design and demonstrate a commercially viable tractor capable of running on biomethane while conforming to the latest European and US emissions standards.

CNH Industrial has contracted Ricardo to support its contribution to the LoCT project, working alongside CNH Industrial’s in-house team on the design and development of the vehicle.

Key challenges include managing the heat rejection and tuning of the engine to be able to operate successfully in an agricultural environment — plus the optimisation of vehicle-based storage of compressed natural gas.