An increasing demand for reduced emissions and energy independence has fueled the need for new technology and the use of alternative fuels in agriculture. One of the most promising developments, the New Holland NH hydrogen-powered tractor, has just made its North American debut. More than just an idea, the NH tractor is a 106 hp working prototype able to perform all the tasks of a tractor while operating virtually silent and emitting zero pollutants.
New Holland’s experimental hydrogen-powered tractor is a key element in a project that hopes to free farmers from the cost of purchased fossil-fuel and allow them to achieve fuel autonomy while meeting increasingly stringent emissions standards. Farmers are in a unique position to benefit from hydrogen technology.
Unlike many people, they have the space to install alternative electricity generation systems, such as solar, wind, biomass or waste, and then store that power as hydrogen. Apart from the environmental benefits, such a system would allow customers to become energy independent and improve their financial stability.
Based on the popular New Holland T6000 Series tractor, the experimental NH tractor replaces the traditional combustion engine with hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity. Compressed hydrogen drawn from a tank on the tractor reacts in the fuel cell with oxygen, drawn from the air, to produce water and electrons. The electrons are harnessed in the form of an electric current, which drives electric motors to power the tractor’s drivetrain and auxiliary systems.
The NH’s fuel cell generates 106 hp and emits only heat, vapor and water. The tractor has zero emissions because it does not produce polluting nitrogen oxides, soot particles or carbon dioxide. And because the NH is virtually silent, there is also no noise pollution.
New Holland Agriculture is a division of CNH Global, a majority-owned subsidiary of Fiat.