Food group develops world’s first hybrid biomethane and electric tractor

  • A European organic food producer has developed what it claims to be the world’s first hybrid biomethane and electric tractor
  • Based in Lithuania, the Auga group is Europe’s largest vertically integrated organic food producer running 39,000ha of organic cereals, root crops and vegetables, plus a large dairy farm with 3,400 cows

The tractor is 6m long, 4m high and runs on 900/60R 42 tyres. The Auga group says its tractor can work for 12 hours on one fuel cartridge.

Kestutis Juscius, CEO of Auga group, said: “Three years ago, when we first calculated our emissions, we saw that as much as 30 percent of them come from the use of fossil fuels on farms. There were simply no solutions to change it.  The choice of biomethane as an alternative fuel was not accidental as it is one of the greenest types of biofuel. Methane, collected from livestock waste and converted to biomethane, offsets more emissions per unit of energy in its production and use cycle than it emits.

According to Kestutis, the hybrid Auga M1 tractor is unique because it solves two main obstacles that have so far prevented the world’s largest corporations from offering such equipment for professional use.

He said: “Our team of engineers has found solutions to solve the problem of refuelling and ensure uninterrupted operation of the tractor throughout the working day.

Currently, biomethane-powered tractors are able to operate for only two to four hours because the gas cylinders do not physically fit into the tractor structure.

The Auga M1 tractor uses a hybrid biomethane-electric fuel system.  When the tractor is running, an internal combustion engine powered by biomethane generates energy and transmits it directly to the electric motors that spin the wheels. The company’s patented design allows the tractor to accommodate larger biomethane gas cylinders.

When operating under normal conditions that do not require high power, the tractor stores the generated energy reserve in the batteries.