The Lithuanian-based AUGA group, which claims to be one of the largest vertically integrated organic food companies in Europe, has introduced what it claims is the world’s first hybrid biomethane and electric tractor for professional farm use, called the AUGA M1.
Until now, sustainable fuel tractors available on the market have not been suitable for large-scale farm work. This is the company’s first step in offering technological solutions that will help eliminate climate pollution throughout the food supply chain and foster sustainable agriculture.
According to a recent study, food systems are responsible for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, and a large part of it is due to the use of fossil fuels in agricultural machinery. Kęstutis Juščius, CEO of AUGA group, believes that the new technology, on which AUGA M1 is based, will help to create a new food production model on a global scale and reduce the environmental impact of agriculture.
“We are ready to provide consumers around the world with food at no cost to nature. By eating such food, people themselves will make a positive impact on climate change daily. And we are sure that more and more people want to live like this,” he commented.
“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,” Juščius continued. “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.”
Powered by biofuel
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.
“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. 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,” said Juščius.
Tackling long-standing innovation barriers
The hybrid AUGA M1 tractor solves two main obstacles that have so far hindered the prevalence of biomethane-powered tractors: the inefficient refuelling process and underdeveloped refuelling station infrastructure. The latter was solved by offering quick and convenient gas cartridge replacement, however, Juščius dove deeper when explaining the changes in the refuelling process.
“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. AUGA group understands this perfectly and has created a solution,” CEO explained.
Building an eco-aware community with sustainable tech
Following the global strategy of agricultural technologies (AgTech), Juščius noted that more solutions, which will help ensure the sustainability of the entire food chain, will be presented in the near future. Currently, the company’s experts are developing “green” technology that will eliminate carbon emissions from the soil and the digestive process of cattle.
“Our innovations will bring together a global community of responsible consumers, smart farmers, and bold investors. It will ensure real change by creating an environmentally friendly food supply chain and will allow implementing the vision of AUGA group – to become synonymous with sustainable food and lifestyle,” said Juščius.
You can see the full presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UK_XmOeJ_gc