The Future of Farming and Diesel

New Holland Agriculture is looking ahead and finding ways to create a tangible vision of the future of its industry and how it plans to power agricultural equipment in a sustainable and efficient manner.

Carlo Lambro 17

The Future of Diesel

Any expectation for significant shifts in diesel engine technology or expectations in the near term?

As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of agricultural machinery, New Holland Agriculture is well aware of its responsibility both toward farmers and growers, toward  the enormous challenge to feed a fast growing world population, and toward the environment. With this commitment in mind, for more than a decade we  have  always been at the forefront in looking for alternative fuels solutions through our Clean Energy Leader strategy which encompasses all areas impacting sustainable agriculture.

We were the first manufacturer to offer 100% compatibility with biodiesel back in 2006. In 2009, we developed the world’s first hydrogen tractor concept, NH2, proving the feasibility of this zero-emission technology for the future. This was a key element of the brand’s Energy Independent Farm concept, launched at the same time.

New Holland continued to explore alternative fuels that would deliver reduced emissions and lower running costs. In 2012, it created its first propane fueled tractor prototype and is now developing the T6 Propane Power tractor in partnership with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). In 2013, we presented our first T6 Methane Power tractor prototype, which has been developed further and tested with customers in Europe and Brazil.

In August at the Farm Progress Show, we presented the latest development in our vision for the sustainable future of farming: a methane powered concept tractor that reimagines the design of this machine and reveals a connected future (read more, 20974870). New Holland  imagines the farm of the future as being completely energy independent: a farm that produces not only food, but also the biomass it needs to generate the energy it needs to run its operations, heat farm buildings and power its tractors and other machinery. The Methane Power Concept tractor forms a vital link in this  virtuous cycle that delivers CO2 neutral production. It features a powertrain that uses a groundbreaking efficient combustion technology specifically developed for agriculture applications by FPT Industrial, a brand of CNH Industrial that has pioneered natural gas traction for more than 20 years. The 6-cylinder NEF methane engine delivers 180 hp and 740 Nm: the same power and torque as its standard diesel equivalent. It has the same durability and service intervals, and generates up to 30% running cost savings. The innovative tank design enables a full day’s autonomy in line with an equivalent diesel model. The engine noise level has been reduced and this translates to around a 50% reduction in drive-by-noise.

In real field conditions, the Methane Power concept tractor produces at least 10% lower CO2 emissions and reduces overall emissions by 80% compared to a standard diesel tractor. Its environmental performance further improves when fueled by biomethane produced from crop residues and waste from farm-grown energy crops, which results in virtually zero CO2 emissions.

Automation Advancements & Smart Systems

How does your company contribute to autonomous systems development and success?

At New Holland Agriculture we are always dedicated to grow innovation and are looking towards the future, developing innovative features and technologies. We are also anticipating this direction with futuristic concepts that offer a tangible vision of what farming could be like in years to come – concepts like the NHDrive autonomous tractor that we presented at the Farm Progress Show as an industry first last year.

It is an unmanned tractor that is fully autonomous and can be monitored and controlled via a desktop computer or via a portable tablet interface. This enables farmers to access tractor and implement data, wherever they are, from different locations, whilst checking fields from the comfort of their pickup, whilst tending livestock or whilst at home, and always whenever they need. This facilitates right-time decision making to enhance operational efficiency and productivity. Furthermore, farmers will maintain full control and ownership of their data.

Able to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the NHDrive concept tractor helps to reduce the risks associated with human error as it follows predetermined and optimized plans for all activities. It is able to reach higher levels of productivity and efficiency than traditional methods. The NHDrive can make full use of the periods of favorable weather for farming operations by working day and night.

The NHDrive concept tractor is equipped with a cab that is completely identical to that of a standard tractor. This means that it can also be used for those operations where complete autonomy is not yet possible, such as front loader work and high speed road transport. It is able to work alongside other autonomous machines and can also work in tandem with machines driven by an operator.

The autonomous tractor makes full use of the advanced PLM (Precision Land Management) technology for precision farming and represents a step further toward the fully connected and intelligent ecosystem of Farming 4.0. The Open - Connected - Smart – Supported technology offers customer flexibility and choice, is always connected, intuitive and easy to use, and supported 24/7 by New Holland specialists.

New Holland will utilize this easily transferable technology across the family of tractor models and will begin customer based trials to further understand how autonomy will assist our agricultural customers around the world.  We will form strong partnerships with our customers to understand where this technology is best utilized and how it impacts traditional agriculture.