New Holland NH2 hydrogen fuel cell tractor

New Holland Agriculture has won a gold medal at the SIMA Innovation Awards 2009 for their NH2 hydrogen-powered tractor. The NH2 is a key element in New Holland’s Energy Independent Farm concept, a project that hopes to free farmers from the cost of purchased fossil-fuel and allow them to achieve fuel autonomy.

Based on the popular T6000, the experimental NH2 tractor replaces the internal combustion engine with hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity, which drives electric motors to power the tractor. The NH2 tractor is a 120hp working prototype able to perform all the tasks of a T6000, while operating virtually silently and emitting only water.

New Holland NH2

New Holland NH2

The Energy Independent Farm concept envisages farmers producing their own compressed hydrogen from water, using a process called electrolysis or directly from methane by burning waste or biomass. Production systems would be powered by wind farms or solar panels and the hydrogen would be stored at the farm in underground tanks.

New Holland believe farmers are in a unique position to benefit from hydrogen technology. They have the space to install alternative electricity generation systems, such as solar, wind, biomass or waste plants, and then store that power as hydrogen. Apart from the environmental benefits, such a system would allow farmers to become energy independent and improve their financial stability, as fuel costs form a significant proportion of their operating costs.

Source: New Holland Agriculture (UK)

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13 Responses

  1. […] Here is the original:  New Holland NH2 hydrogen fuel cell tractor […]

  2. […] New Holland NH2 hydrogen fuel cell tractor New Holland Agriculture has won a gold medal at the SIMA Innovation Awards 2009 for their NH2 hydrogen-powered tractor. The NH2 is a key element in New Holland’s Energy Independent Farm concept, a project that hopes to free farmers from the cost of purchased fossil-fuel and allow them to achieve fuel autonomy. Based on the popular T6000, the experimental NH2 tractor replaces the internal combustion engine with hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity, which drives electric motors to power […]

  3. Great to see Agriculture using renewable energy that produces no carbon emissions. I guess, As long as the initial power is generated via solar or hydro power of course.
    I think H2 is the way of the future. Either as an electric fuel cell. or a stand alone oxy-hydrogen producing unit.

    I also noticed today Europe have opened the door for h2 cars as well.

    have a great day
    Phillip

  4. Consider: replace the fuel cell in the tractor with a small gas turbine and you have the potential of recovering 50% of the energy contained in biogas into useful work. Especially if you employ waste heat recovery systems like in CCGT power plants, which yield up to 60% efficiencies.

    Biogas is more readily, reliably and cheaply available to farmers than wind or solar power. You can turn just about any organic waste to biogas in a simple reactor and you get fertilizers as a byproduct.

    If we were to turn that same waste into electricity and then hydrogen, and then back to electricity in the vehicle, more than 85% of the energy would be wasted, and even with wind, solar and hydro power, more than 70% of all energy is lost in the conversions and pumping the hydrogen up to 10,000 psi pressures to fit enough fuel on-board the vehicle.

  5. If I ran the numbers right, even at 10,000 psi tank pressure, the hydrogen tractor would gobble up approximately six or seven gallons of hydrogen per hour while working. A normal tractor would need about three gallons of diesel per hour.

    So to do the day’s work, you need something like fifty gallons of ultra high pressure hydrogen in the fuel tank.

    • David,

      Having thought about this some more after feedback from another reader it appears a better solution may be to use a single turbine to generate electricity from biogas and power the tractor with electricity.

      The setup costs would be lower and the tractor much simpler in design. Recharging time, as always, could be a problem but replaceable battery packs (think Project Better Place) might work.

      It would be great to see one or more of the agricultural equipment manufacturers helping farmers set up infrastructure that enabled them to produce their own energy and thereby significantly reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment.

      Luke

  6. Amazing piece of engineering and design, well ahead of it’s time. Well done, New Holland. If farmers can generate hydrogen cost efectively then this looks like a great solution

  7. Amazing piece of engineering and design, well ahead of it’s time. Well done, New Holland, But is hydgogen cost effective and green to produce?

  8. This is excellent technology, but David’s comments look to have some truth.
    I’ve come across this product which is about to launch in a mass way in the truck arena – should be able to do the same for diesel tractors. I’ve seen it in prototype, looks great and seems to work quite well.
    http://www.fuelcommanderus.com
    http://www.fuelcommander.com.au

  9. Who designed your page? Looks great! Is it a free template you are using?

    • The template is the Digg 3 Column from WordPress.com. The header is customisable and that part I did myself mucking around with the GIMP logo generation plugin using the same colours as the template.

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