At the SIMA Innovation Awards 2009, New Holland Agriculture has pulled away from the pack winning both gold and silver medals. The gold metal was won not only for the fuel cell tractor, but for the concept of an entire farm that creates its own hydrogen using wind, solar or biomass and feeds the tractor with this hydrogen.
The silver medal was won for the development of the EasyDrive continuously variable chain transmission. The “energy independent farm” concept will be attractive to many farmers. For instance, hydrogen fuel can be created on location and will not need to be transported in from the closest major city with a hydrogen fueling station on hand.
Fuel cell tractors can be refueled at one centralized location on the farm with hydrogen made from either water or biomass, using the power of wind turbines or solar energy also installed on the farm. This kind of self sufficiency goes straight to the heart of farmers worldwide.
Quick refueling times and the replacement of diesel smoke with clean energy are two key advantages in going with hydrogen. Also, hydrogen fueled tractors have a longer range than those powered by batteries alone.
I talked about the New Holland NH2 hydrogen fuel cell tractor a couple of weeks ago when it made its first appearance in Turin, Italy. Now, its wracking up gold medals and people inside and outside the agricultural community are starting to take notice about how this new technology could lead to “clean farms” everywhere.