Technology is an integral part of agriculture. Without its contribution, a variety of agricultural processes will be low on efficiency and may even incur losses. A “Tractor” is one such technological machine. Traditional agricultural practices have many drawbacks concerning the environment. Our food systems generate a huge amount of the world’s emissions. Age-old tractors have also been profusely contributing to air pollution. Thus, the need for an innovation in this area has long been due. Now that issue might be over with this new “Cleaner and Greener” tractor.
The Traditional Tractor
A tractor is an engineering vehicle specifically designed to deliver a high tractive effort at slow speeds, for the purposes of hauling a trailer or agricultural machinery. Originally purposed for mechanising tillage, this machine is now used for various tasks.
Using tractors is highly rewarding for farmers, but gradual increase in usage worldwide has impacted the environment in a negative way. The tractors having big engines, big heavy tires, and running on low gears mean that they are major contributors in agricultural emissions. This increasing usage of high performing tractor influence pollution of the environment by exhaust gases. The environment becomes the sink for poisonous exhaust substances, oil products and their vapour which exits through engine breather and various wane products.
Cleaner Tractor Technology
AUGA Group is a Lithuanian agricultural technology firm. They are Europe’s first vertically integrated organic food producer and have developed the first ever green tractor. The AUGA M1 tractor runs on a hybridization of biomethane fuel and electric energy to produce a cleaner food chain by reducing GHG emissions.
Green tractors aren’t new, but the new technology that AUGA provides is definitely innovative. Previous models faced two primary problems: refuelling and infrastructure. AUGA claims to have solved these shortcomings.
Earlier attempts at developing a biomethane-powered tractor faced the problem of a short operating period of between 2 to 4 hours. This was mostly because gas cylinders could not physically fit within a tractor’s structure.
However, the AUGA M1 tractor houses larger, specialized canisters, allowing it to perform for up to 12 hours. As for the refuelling infrastructure, AUGA offers tractor users a quick gas cartridge replacement.
The operation of this tractor is dependent on biomethane. Biomethane is one of the greenest biofuels and thus, is a desired fuel. It is generated from livestock waste which farmers usually dispose of. Livestock waste is a large contributor of methane, which is a more potent, but largely harmless greenhouse gas.
This biomethane fuel powers the internal combustion engine of an AUGA M1. This generates energy, which transmits to the electric motors that move the tractor’s wheels. If operating under low-powered conditions, the tractor stores generated energy reserve in its batteries to avoid energy loss. If some power is necessary, the small engine can provide the required energy to perform the work.
The tractor will enter production in its native Lithuania next year and will come with a top speed of around 8 miles/hour. It produces net zero emissions, while just one M1 on a farm will reduce a farmer’s carbon footprint by 100 tons per year.
The Company is readily conducting R&D in this sector of lowering emissions. They are targeting to be a CO2-neutral company by 2030, and thus their products will be on similar dimensions. They are set on their journey to make greener agricultural equipments available to farmers worldwide, and to remove pollution from the agricultural sector.