At the Farm Progess Show this summer, New Holland rolled out a new concept tractor that appeared mostly conventional but had one stand out feature--it runs on methane rather than diesel. My first impression when seeing this was--didn't we have this same concept 50 years ago? Growing up, our farm included an International 504 LP than ran on natural gas (until it spectacularly caught on fire when I was about 10). Is the New Holland concept any different?
The New Holland tractor unveiled at Farm Progress Show is powered by a 180 hp bio-methane engine. New Holland (CNH) claims that it has identical performance to a diesel tractor but produces ultra-low emissions and a "virtually zero CO2 profile." Another benefit is a 50% reduction in drive-by noise levels, making the tractor well suited to livestock operations. Read more about the concept at CNH's website.
This made me think back to the popularity of LP tractors during my childhood. John Deere, Case, IH, Ford, and others all had LP tractors on the market in the decade that proceeded my farming youth. These machines took advantage of low LP prices that made these models more economical in some parts of the US than their diesel or gas equivalents.