Tractor maker CNH Industrial says taking a majority stake in methane energy company Bennamann will help it develop alternative fuels for agriculture.
CNH announced the stakeholding in Bennamann earlier this spring. The two companies have worked together for a number of years to capture and store methane emissions for energy – aiming to deliver a carbon negative fuel system for farming.
“By consolidating our share in Bennamann, we are offering our customers a full energy production, storage and distribution service,” explained CNH Industrial agriculture president Derek Neilson.
“This solution can transform farms into mini-energy hubs that can satisfy their own energy needs, produce their own natural fertiliser and sell any excess gas on the open market. It also enables them to generate their own electricity.
“This makes us a true alternative energy enabler, able to serve myriad applications and contribute to a carbon negative future.”
Reducing emissions such as methane and CO2 from biowaste and operations is one of agriculture’s greatest environmental challenges. But alternative fuels can enhance a farm’s productivity while offsetting its carbon footprint.
To help farmers meet this challenge, CNH has been pioneering sustainable alternative energy sources for agriculture for more than two decades, including the first tractor running on compressed natural gas – the New Holland T6 180 Methane Power.
The tractor maker’s relationship with Bennamann began in 2019 when the two firms jointly developed a liquefied natural gas fuel tank for a prototype machine. CNH then acquired a minority stake in the business.
On a pilot farm in Cornwall, the shared technologies are capturing fugitive emissions from farm biowaste – specifically livestock slurry.
The gas is then purified into biomethane that is subsequently either compressed or liquefied.
Both types of biomethane can be used as vehicle fuel, to generate electricity, and even supply household or farm power. Byproducts of the conversion process can then be used as a natural fertiliser.
CNH and Bennamann say the system they have developed provides energy independence from fossil fuels for the Cornish farm. It has reduced input costs – and could also generate an additional revenue stream.
This work has also led to the introduction of the world’s first liquefied fugitive methane tractor prototype, the New Holland T7 Methane Power LNG, which is operationally carbon negative when fueled by Bennamann’s system.
CNH says investing in Bennamann furthers the tractor maker’s commitment to lower CO2 emissions in agriculture. A 120-cow farm using methane capture technology can reduce the CO2 equivalent of 100 European households – about 780 tonnes annually.
It says it has now progressed beyond the prototype phase and will install the CNH Industrial-Bennamann solution on multiple farms over the next year. This will start with compressed fugitive methane solutions, moving to liquefied in the future.