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New Holland Showing Prototype Hydrogen Fuel Cell-Powered Tractor in North America

New Holland will introduce the NH2 hydrogen fuel cell-powered tractor in North America on 31 August at the 2010 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa. The NH2 tractor is a 106 hp (79 kW) working prototype able to perform all the tasks of a tractor while operating virtually silent and emitting zero pollutants.

New Holland’s NH2 tractor. Click to enlarge.

New Holland says that its experimental hydrogen-powered tractor is a key element in a project that hopes to free farmers from the cost of purchased fossil-fuel and allow them to achieve fuel autonomy while meeting increasingly stringent emissions standards.

Farmers are in a unique position to benefit from hydrogen technology, the company states. Farmers have the space to install alternative electricity generation systems, such as solar, wind, biomass or waste, and then store that power as hydrogen. Apart from the environmental benefits, such a system would allow customers to become energy independent and improve their financial stability.

Based on the New Holland T6000 Series tractor, the experimental NH2 tractor replaces the traditional combustion engine with hydrogen fuel cells.


Justin VP

Hydrogen fuell cells make more sense on farm equip than they do on commuter cars. I agree with much of what the article says. Farmers already have their diesel trucked in, so bringing in a tanker to refill the hydrogen isn't really any different. They'd need 10+ hours run time on a refill, or have their own mobile refilling trailer.

Making your own via wind, etc. seems like wishful thinking for all but the largest factory farms. Cost of equipment would be insane for the benefit. I guess you could have a huge 3megawatt wind turbine installed if you're sited well for wind, but then you'd probably just want to sell it back to the utility, and you wouldn't own the equipment anyway.

It would be way more efficient to just pull from the grid, and use a grid with a good ratio of renewables. This is another example where smart metering would be very efficient. Reform your hydrogen at night while excess baseload exists and power is cheap.


How would hydrogen made from $0.05/Kwh hydro electricity grid compare with $1.10/L diesel?


Interesting but hardly a new idea. Allis Chalmers made a fuel cell tractor in 1959.


sd: Can you post more info on that FC tractor?

Aaron Turpen

Justin VP, you assume a grid connection exists. Out here in the Western US, it's not uncommon for farms (esp. smaller ones) to not have a connection to the utility grid. Comparing the costs of running lines from the nearest trunk to your farm and building your own system, many smaller farms opt for their own setup. The utilities don't pay for the run from their lines to your house.

It's only around $20k to put in a couple of windmills, a diesel or propane generator, etc. Most smaller equipment such as well pumps and the like need only a solar panel and a car battery or two.

As for harnessing hydrogen, using H2O electrolysis is only one method for getting it. Methane is easy to get on the farm/ranch as is urea. In fact, most farms already truck in huge amounts of urea as fertilizer - it's cheap, non-toxic, and doesn't require permits to transport.

By the time this tractor hits the market, these other solutions will probably be about ready as well. Many of us out here in the countryside have already switched much of our equipment to propane/CNG anyway.

Farm fuel diesel in the U.S. is cheaper than at the pump, btw. No taxes or add-ons (except the dye). Usually about 65-70% the retail price.


A load of PR manure. Old Mac Donald ain't gonna mess with newfangled BS like Fool-Cells.

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