CNH Industrial has announced that it now holds the majority stake in British-based tech company Bennamann, having originally acquired a 10% stake in 2019.

Bennamann’s on-farm solution captures, repurposes and stores the existing methane known as fugitive methane from animal slurry for use as fuel.

It fits hand in hand with New Holland’s alternative fuels strategy, acting as an on-farm fuel source for its latest compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) tractors.

The purified fugitive methane is compressed into compressed fugitive methane (CFM) or liquefied fugitive methane (LFM) and can be used to generate electricity or as vehicle fuel.

Engine manufacturer FPT, a subsidiary of CNH Industrial, has developed a digital generator set that runs on methane which in theory could supply the adjoining household or farm with electricity created from the existing methane gas within the slurry.

Bennamann claims its solution provides farmers with the opportunity to become energy independent and thus reduce input costs and in some cases generate additional revenue streams.

CNH began its relationship with Bennamann in 2019 having jointly developed an LNG fuel tank for its prototype tractor, which later led to the 10% acquisition.

Since then New Holland’s T6.180 Methane Power CNG tractor has come to the market and in more recent times the T7 Methane Power LNG tractor has been announced.

How it works

The process essentially works by capturing all slurry gases by covering the lagoon or storage facility. From here the biogas or ‘dirty’ gas is partially dried before further cleaning to remove water and carbon dioxide (CO2). This increases the purity of the bio methane from 65% to circa 93% before it is then stored as CFM or LFM.

The firm has said it will install the CNH Industrial-Bennamann solution on multiple farms over the next year, starting with CFM solutions and moving to LFM in the future.

The downside to CFM is its low energy density and space required for storage given that gas is stored at 250 bar in heavily reinforced cylinders.

LFM is stored in a relatively standard tank similar to diesel and has roughly six times the energy density of CFM. However, LFM needs to be maintained at -164°C.