Continuing with its methane power developments, New Holland has just unveiled a new prototype methane tractor, this time to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) instead of compressed natural gas (CNG) like its existing T6.180 methane power tractor.

The major advancement is in terms of fuel storage. By using LNG, four times as much fuel can be stored compared to CNG using the equivalent tank space. This is down to the fact LNG is stored at a lower pressure and therefore requires tanks that are not reinforced to the same extent, saving weight and increasing storage capacity.

The tractor is based on its latest diesel-burning T7.270 long-wheelbase counterpart and delivers the exact same power and torque.

With Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) four times as much fuel can be stored in the equivalent tank space compared to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) .

There have been striking changes in terms of styling, which we will come to yet. But, below the surface is where the T7.270 LNG really differs from a diesel tractor and even the T6.180 Methane CNG tractor in terms of fuel storage, leading us on to our next point.

Fuel storage

Although the T6.180 Methane CNG tractor, once fitted with the front-mounted tank, offers a range of up to eight hours, upscaling to a larger 200hp plus, heavy draft tractor was the limiting factor. This advancement in LNG is a solution in an era where range is one of the main factors holding back larger alternative-fuelled machines.

The T7.270 Methane Power LNG tractor uses a patented active temperature-controlled fuel system.

The traditional diesel tank has been replaced with a stainless steel Cryogenic tank sourced from Cornish company Bennamann in which CNH Industrial holds a minority stake.

With Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) four times as much fuel can be stored in the equivalent tank space compared to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) .

This non-venting tank has been moulded to match the diesel tank that it replaces to maximise space.

The independent fuel system has a self-supporting vacuum space that isolates the fuel inside and therefore reduces the tank’s wall thickness required. Once in the field, active tank temperature control keeps the LNG in a liquid state at the optimum -162°C which in turn keeps the engine running smoothly.

Refueling is said to be as quick and as easy as that of a diesel tractor.

When it comes to refuelling, it’s as simple as that of a diesel tractor.

The T7.270 Methane Power LNG tractor uses the same 6.75l, six-cylinder block as what’s in the diesel T7.270, albeit with a few modifications to the top end and removal of the after-treatment system. Components such as piston rings have been upgraded and the cylinder head fitted with liquid gas injectors and spark plugs to handle the LNG.

Stying and cab

Styling of the T7.270 Methane Power LNG tractor is quite concept-like but not to the extremes seen before.

It features a new ‘Clean Blue’ colour and tweaked bonnet styling combined with the recognisable classic New Holland aesthetics.

Gloss black wheels and front fenders with custom body coloured accents have been added.

Illuminated New Holland leaves have been incorporated around the tractor too, including on the bonnet, C-pillar and within the LED taillights, all giving that bit more of a modern touch.

The cab’s full length skydome roof provides the operator with enhanced visibility and a greater sense of space.

Inside the cab more modern seats have been added along with a large glass roof panel.

All the recent T7 tech updates seen at SIMA have been included, along with other more modern design touches such as the seats and dash.

New Holland didn’t make any announcements as to when the T7.270 Methane Power LNG tractor would become commercially available.