One of Europe's largest organic food firms has developed what it says is the world's first hybrid biomethane and electric tractor to help drive down agricultural pollution.
Auga Group, a Lithuanian organic food company which supplies Ocado and Holland & Barrett, has introduced the Auga M1 tractor, which runs on a hybrid biomethane-electric fuel system, for professional farm use.
When the machine runs, 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.
Such a system does not waste energy in low load conditions, uses a relatively small but efficient motor and is able to extract power when needed.
These solutions allow the tractor to work for up to 12 hours, according to the organic company.
Auga CEO Kestutis Jušcius said the machine was unique as it solved obstacles that had so far prevented companies 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 2-4 hours because the gas cylinders do not physically fit into the tractor structure.
"However, farmers need agricultural machinery that can work for 12 hours or more," he added.
The company is also currently developing other sustainable solutions to eliminate carbon emissions from soils and the digestive process of cattle.