In Uzbekistan, where 1 in 4 Uzbeks works on the land, agriculture accounts for 16.7 percent of GDP and natural gas is abundant, there are currently only about 50 agricultural tractors operating with compressed natural gas (CNG). That is set to change with the reported planned production of new technology methane-powered tractors commencing in 2018.
New Holland has developed second generation methane powered tractors and has been demonstrating them to receptive audiences in Europe. Field experts from Uzbekistan attended field trials in Italy and subsequently the Uzbek Head of State gave approval for Case New Holland, part of CNH Industrial, to begin domestic production of the tractors next year.
CNG agricultural tractors working the fields in Ubekistan have thus far been converted to natural gas using South Korean technology. They represent just a fraction of the approximately 40,000 tractors in the country. Supported by a proposal to increase mobile refueling infrastructure, the initiative is expected to be well received by the agricultural sector.
New Holland’s new generation T6.180 tractor, for which the prototype was introduced late 2016, shows good performance and range, according to the Uzbek Sputnik news service. Gas is stored in 9 tanks that are integrated into the overall design, providing a combined 52-kilo tank capacity, enough for about had a day of standard operations.
There are significant savings in fuel costs compared with similar diesel equipment, and emissions are about 80% lower when using renewable natural gas. Reduced cost will enable product to reach markets at a more competitive price.
Case New Holland is reportedly planning to launch tractors with a capacity of 80 to 110 horsepower.