British Company Develops First Tractor in the World to be Completely Powered by Cow Dung
Waste byproducts from as few as 100 cows are turned into a fuel called fugitive methane in a biomethane storage unit to power the tractor.
New Holland’s brand new tractor runs on liquified methane, allowing farmers to decrease their emissions and save money on expensive diesel.
But that isn’t the only reason it’s more efficient, as the company says the fuel can easily be produced by methane from cow pies, allowing for a more circular economic model in the most circular of industries.
The pioneering 270hp tractor is claimed to be a match for the performance of standard diesel-powered versions. The groundbreaking machine was developed by British company Bennamann, which has been researching and developing biomethane production for over a decade.
Waste byproducts from a herd as small as 100 cows are turned into a fuel called fugitive methane in a biomethane storage unit based on the farm.
A cryogenic tank fitted on the tractor keeps the methane in liquid form at -162 degrees°C giving the vehicle as much power as a diesel but with significant emission savings.
It was put through its paces during a pilot run on a farm in Cornwall where carbon dioxide emissions were slashed from 2,500 metric tons to 500 metric tons in just a year.
“The T7 liquid methane-fuelled tractor is a genuine world-first and another step towards decarbonising the global agricultural industry and realizing a circular economy,” said Bennamann co-founder Chris Mann.
The company is also investigating the wider uses of the technology and hope it could one day be used to charge electric vehicles in rural locations.
The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) are now co-funding a study to assess the scale of fugitive methane emissions in Cornwall, the location of Bennanmann’s headquarters.
They will investigate the current emissions from sites such as dairy farms and wastewater treatment plants.
The partnership will also study the future potential use of biomethane as a fuel for the likes of transport and agriculture.
“If we can make our agriculture industry energy-independent in the face of soaring input costs and volatile energy prices, while reducing emissions, then we can provide a huge economic boost for rural communities, greater food security, and move towards net zero,” said chair of the LEP, Mark Duddridge.
“These applications are not limited to agriculture or Cornwall. They are global.”