REDUCING emissions on farms is a feature the mainstream machinery manufacturers are focusing on and some are excelling in this area.

At the huge Bauma Show, in Germany, this year, manufacturers were keen to show off their zero emission electric machines, but also a wheeled loader powered by methane gas. Giving a clue as to some of the options available for ag-tractors manufacturers to look into.

Held over six days, the show in Munich laid out machines, equipment and ideas from around 3700 exhibitors from 60 countries all over the world.

Case Construction Equipment presented its new wheel loader concept that is powered by methane. Its ‘Project Tetra’ is its first natural gas construction machine and is powered by a six-cylinder NG engine from FPT Industrial’s NEF family. It follows on from advancements made in methane powered tractors by sister brand, New Holland.

This power unit delivers power up to 230hp and torque up to 1184 Nm, giving it diesel-like performance, but with a smoother and quieter drive. It also offers the same reliability and durability and fuel savings up to 30%.

The engine runs on compressed natural gas (CNG), ensuring 15% less CO2 and 99% less particulate matter than its diesel-based counterpart.

The NEF engine uses stoichiometric technology, which ensures the correct chemical balance between air and methane to deliver clean combustion and low emissions. Such technology is enabled by FPT Industrial’s proprietary control strategy, specific piston design and multi-point injection.

The new methane-powered wheel loader concept represents a significant technological advance for Case, being the brand’s first alternative fuel vehicle.

Biomethane is produced using a cyclical system that delivers CO2 neutral production. It particularly suits wheel loader applications, especially those employed in waste handling situations or on farms, as they handle the raw materials which are used to produce the biomethane which fuels them.

The fuel on this wheel loader is stored within technologically advanced tanks within a sleek and integrated storage unit fitted at the rear and sides of the wheel loader.

On the outside, a complete LED lighting package with lights integrated into the loader arms, front fenders, front and rear mounted roof work lights, aggressive rear lights integrated into the rear fenders and engine cover, and stop and hazard lights nestling in the rear counterweight, all combine to offer unsurpassed levels of visibility.

Operators can either select auto mode, in which all working lights are automatically activated in low ambient light conditions, ideal when working at night or when moving between dimly lit sheds and exterior environments, or manual operation, in which they select the required lights.

Tyres are also important and for the Tetra Project the CNH Industrial and Michelin design teams worked in partnership to develop a vision for a future airless tire.

This cutting edge design foresees a fusion of the tyre wheel combination and features inbuilt suspension. Furthermore, thanks to its pure rubber and patented composite material construction, it has been designed to withstand the extreme conditions present in construction environments, and could be considered indestructible.

Although still a concept vehicle, Case say it is working hard to bring the Tetra Project to reality.

Meanwhile, New Holland displayed one of its alternative fuel solutions at SIMA, in Paris – the methane-powered concept tractor.

NH’s ‘Clean Energy Leader’ strategy was launched in 2006 to pioneer the use of alternative fuels and in 2013, it presented its first T6 methane power prototype, which has been further developed and tested with customers in France and other European countries.

Its engine has been specifically developed for agricultural applications by FPT Industrial, and is based on more than 20 years of natural gas experience with more than 30,000 NG engines produced for truck and bus applications.

This six-cylinder unit delivers the same power (180 hp) and torque (740 Nm) as the standard diesel equivalent – at the same durability and service intervals – while providing running cost savings that can reach 30%.

In real field conditions, this tractor produces at least 10% lower CO2 emissions and 80% lower pollutant emissions compared to a standard diesel. When fuelled by biomethane produced from renewable sources, the CO2 emissions are virtually zero.

This tractor is part of NH’s Energy Independent FarmSM concept, a ‘closed-loop’ cycle of farming from fields to energy generation, and back to fields. Its gets its fuel-grade biomethane from anaerobic digester plants, while excess energy can be sold on and the by-products of biodigestion are natural fertilisers for the farm’s fields.