New Holland T6.180 methane powered tractor released to US farmers

The future of a tractor’s power source has taken a unique turn as New Holland defies all expectations and makes its long running methane model available for US farmers

CNH Industrial have their fingers in a lot of tractor power source pies and it’s their pet project of methane gas power that has come to fruition first for lucky US farmers

All tractor companies have fiddled with ways to avoid deadly exhaust emissions with the hope to come up with alternative power sources to diesel, with its obvious end of availability fate already sealed.

That tractor power source race has eaten up a great deal of revenue and in more recent times has appeared to be mainly directed to the smart bots playing with electric generated power, who up until now have been showered with enough funding to launch a new White Line of Titanic cruise ships.

And it sometimes seems that funding has been ploughed in, all without question and in return electric power source inventors have only demonstrated limited application at best.

The electric power players may be about to see their investors ask more questions before digging deeper into their pockets as methane powered tractors enter dealer yards, all primed and ready for work.

What’s to stop farmers from buying a New Holland T6 Methane Power tractor as it delivers the performance of its diesel equivalent with engine power of 132kW (180hp) and torque at 740Nm

As with all the alternative power sources to diesel, when methane power made its first appearance through CNH Industrial badge New Holland, it was mostly dismissed by the farming fraternity as an unlikely contender. Too messy, too much along the greenie trail of alternative fuels from recycling.

However, New Holland engineers were persistent beasts, with a track record of being the first to develop 100% compatibility with biodiesel in 2006, then going on to produce the first hydrogen-fuelled tractor in 2009.

When it was announced that New Holland methane tractor production models would be available to European farmers in late 2021, see this link, well it actually all went a little flat, and CNH Industrial realised there would be a great deal of work ahead to entice farmers to this power source.

Same power as diesel cheaper to run

There are several reasons why farmers from certain segments will warm to methane gas power.

Final engine selection for the T6 Methane Power tractor sees it fitted with an all-new FPT Industrial NEF 6.7-litre engine specifically developed for farm applications

New Holland engineers have matched the T6 Methane Power tractor to deliver the performance of its diesel equivalent, so no complaints there. Engine power is 132kW (180hp) and torque at 740Nm and there is also the added advantage of a 30% reduction in running costs when compared to diesel.

In addition, the New Holland T6 Methane Power tractor also offers fuel flexibility, it can run on either biomethane or compressed natural gas.

And if you want to breath safely, the T6 Methane Power tractor produces 98% less particulate matter when compared with the already clean emission limits allowed under European Stage V regulations.

Taking the clean air factor, a step further, when running biomethane fuel, it can provide a 10 to 15% reduction in CO2 for a negative emission profile.

This all operates from a simple, maintenance-free, three-way catalyst used for the after treatment, eliminating the need for exhaust gas recirculation and selective catalytic reduction components, as well as diesel exhaust fluid.

Final specs for the T6 Methane Power tractor sees it fitted with an all-new FPT Industrial NEF 6.7-litre engine specifically developed for farm applications. There is some solid credibility behind this installation as FPT Industrial has over 20 years experience in natural gas powertrain technology development. With more than 50,000 natural gas engines in operation.

There have been some obvious headaches for the T6 Methane Power, and none less than where to position the gas tanks, originally there were ten tanks positioned around the tractor. The solution, place 222-litre capacity gas tanks in the same position as the diesel tanks on the standard T6 model.

The result is the same excellent visibility from the cab as the diesel model, and access also benefitted with no restrictions as a result. With fuel storage issues overcome, it meant current production tyre sizes and track width settings match the diesel model as well.

There are several reasons why farmers from certain segments will warm to methane gas power with livestock and dairy farmers in the box seat

On the New Holland T6 Methane Power tractor there are additional options to choose such as mid-mount valves. And for extended jobbing between fuelling, there is a front-mounted range extender that bumps the on-board fuel capacity up by another 322-litres.

The T6 Methane Power tractor is also fitted with gas connection points at the front and rear, enabling additional fuel storage that could be mounted on trailers and implements.

Stepping stone to zero-carbon farming

The T6 Methane Power tractor is expected to play a key role in any future New Holland initiatives with alternative energy and ways to use farm produce for energy generation in a CO2-neutral cycle.

It is expected that farmers will grow their own energy crops and in addition to using  agricultural waste will generate biomethane and fuel their T6 Methane Power tractor to achieve near-zero CO2 emissions.

Livestock and dairy farmers will be in the box seat as they will be able to take this virtuous cycle even further by producing biomethane from manure, with the result of subtracting CO2 from the environment, resulting in very efficient carbon-negative result.

New Holland T6 Methane Power tractor Specifications