Fendt starts testing its first fuel cell hydrogen tractor

Agricultural machine specialist Fendt has presented a prototype of a field tractor equipped with hydrogen fuel cells at the German Hydrogen Summit in Straubing. Two units will be supplied for testing in the region of Lower Saxony as of next month.

Fendt participates in the H2Agrar project, which researches the potential role of hydrogen in decarbonizing the agricultural sector and aims at installing a full-scale ecosystem comprising infrastructure, machinery, and services. As farmers work with heavy vehicles and can’t waste efficiency with downtime from charging battery packs, hydrogen is considered a favorable solution.

Also battery power

Nonetheless, Fendt showcased a tractor with a battery pack already eight years ago, which it currently sells as the e100 Vario. It’s compact-sized and has a 100 kWh battery pack capacity, which can be recharged to 80% in 40 minutes.

Putting the theory into practice, the brand will now deliver two fuel cell prototypes to farms in Haren, Emsland, to gather expertise and feedback on utilizing the zero-emission technology. The prototypes use fuel cells, and the five bulky tanks are positioned on the roof of the machines. Technical details on the size of the reservoirs and the fuel cell stack were undisclosed.

Hydrogen tractor from Antwerp

Fendt isn’t the first manufacturer to convert one of its tractors to a hydrogen-fueled driveline. But whereas the German brand is looking at the farming sector, most players use it in a harbor environment.

In Antwerp, the dual fuel specialist CMB Tech, deploying hydrogen boats and exploiting a hydrogen station in the port, converted the diesel engine into a New Holland T5.140 (pictured below) farm tractor with the tanks neatly covered on top of the roof. It runs on both diesel and hydrogen.

Though this combustion-engined solution offers the practical advantage of cutting carbon and toxic emissions by half while guaranteeing operation when hydrogen is unavailable, it can’t compete with the efficiency of a fuel cell. Nevertheless, according to CMB Tech, who collaborated on the project with partners, twenty were sold in the first year of commercialization.

The version from CMB Tech runs on both diesel and hydrogen /PA

‘Crowning glory’

Other examples of hydrogen-fueled tractors can be found in the Port of Immingham (UK) and the Port of Rotterdam (The Netherlands), but these aren’t farming machines but small trucks to move about containers.

Hubert Aiwanger, the Bavarian State Minister for Energy, witnessed the unveiling of the hydrogen Fendt, stating: “Agriculture and forestry can supply a lot of energy, which can also be used to generate hydrogen. (…) The crowning glory, of course, is when farmers themselves use hydrogen for their tractors or agricultural machinery. I hope Fendt will continue developing this prototype because we need these things.”


Ready to join the conversation?

You must be an active subscriber to leave a comment.

Subscribe Today

You Might Also Like

%d bloggers like this: