MILAN, March 15 (Reuters) – Italian-American CNH Industrial (CNHI.MI) said on Wednesday it had taken a controlling stake in Bennamann, a UK-based developer of solutions to capture, repurpose and store methane emissions for energy use.
“This move boosts our leading position and portfolio in alternative fuels for the agriculture industry,” the maker of farm machinery and construction equipment said in a statement, without providing financial details for the deal.
CNH, which started to cooperate with Bennamann in 2019, acquired a minority stake in the company in 2021 through its Ventures investment arm.
CNH’s Venture head Michele Lombardi told Reuters the group’s stake in Bennamann had been increased to just over 50% from a previous 10%. The deal was funded through readily available cash, he added.
Wednesday’s announcement comes after CNH bought U.S. based partner Augmenta earlier this week, in a bid to boost its technology for crop spraying effectiveness.
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Agriculture machines are CNH’s largest business, accounting for around three quarters of the group’s revenue last year.
Derek Neilson, president of agriculture at CNH Industrial, said the acquisition of Bennamann would help the group offer farmers “a full energy production, storage and distribution service”.
“This solution can transform farms into mini energy hubs that can satisfy their own energy needs, produce their own natural fertilizer and sell any excess gas on the open market,” he said.
The two companies have progressed beyond the prototype phase and plan to install their jointly developed solution on multiple farms over the next year, CNH said.
In a UK pilot, the partners captured emissions from livestock manure slurry which are then purified into biomethane that is subsequently either compressed or liquefied.
Both forms can be used as vehicle fuel, to generate electricity, and even supply household or farm power, while the byproducts can be used as a natural fertilizer.
According to research by CNH and Bennamann, a 120-cow farm operating their shared methane capture technology can reduce emissions of CO2 equivalent to 100 western European households, or about 780 tons annually.
Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari
Editing by Keith Weir and Gavin Jones
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