Reprinted from Good News Network website...
An enormous amount of the world’s emissions are generated by our food systems, so an agricultural technology firm in Lithuania moved to tackle the largest definitive source by introducing the world’s first totally-green tractor.
Big engines, massive torque, big heavy tires, and hardly ever leaving third gear means fossil fuels from farm machinery are a massive contributor to agricultural emissions, and AUGA Group’s biomethane-electric hybrid tractor will go a long way towards reducing them.
AUGA is Europe’s largest vertically integrated organic food producer, and the AUGA M1 is the first of its kind, designed as a hybrid to ensure that farmers can run from sunup to sundown.
“Three years ago, when we first calculated our emissions, we saw that as much as 30 per cent of them come from the use of fossil fuels on farms,” stated AUGA CEO Kęstutis Juščius.
“There were simply no solutions to change it. That is why we have taken the lead in developing technologies that will allow us to create a new standard for sustainable agriculture and drastically reduce pollution throughout the food value chain. The first result of this work is a biomethane and electric tractor.”
Rather than run only on biomethane as other green tractors, the addition of an electric motor powered by internal combustion from the biomethane and battery storage to save power during low-demand tasks, allows for many hours of additional use.
More clever than it looks
Biomethane was specifically targeted as a desired fuel source as it’s one of the greenest biofuels. The cool part about it is that it’s generated from livestock waste which farmers may need to dispose of. Livestock waste is a large contributor of methane: a more potent, but largely harmless greenhouse gas.
One of the reasons it’s largely harmless is that unlike CO2, if one reduces methane emissions by an amount, say 10,000 tons, the concentrations of methane in the atmosphere immediately shift to reflect that reduction, while a similar reduction in CO2 has no effect whatsoever on its atmospheric greenhouse concentrations.
Therefore by turning the manure into biomethane fuel, it’s having a direct pound for pound reduction in emissions.
In order to maximize the effectiveness of the biomethane fuel, the M1 is designed to accommodate larger, specialized canisters, which the company offers a refueling service for.
The tractor is set to enter production in its native Lithuania next year and will come with a top speed of around eight miles per hour. Running for twelve hours, it produces net zero emissions, while just one M1 on a farm will reduce a farmer’s carbon footprint by 100 tons per year.
“Our invention makes it possible to create a wide range of tractor applications and make it accessible to all farmers who want to work sustainably,” added Juščius. “We are not developing technology just to solve our own emissions and deliver on the promise of becoming a CO2-neutral company by 2030. Our goal is bigger—we will strive to make this tractor and other technologies that are still being developed available to farmers all over the world and help solve the global problem of pollution in the agricultural sector.”