E-mobility power component specialist REO has called for farming vehicles to become electrified to reduce agriculture’s environmental burden.
A report by McKinsey estimates that over one quarter of the global carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions can be attributed to agriculture, forestry and land use change.
And while there is little research on how much of these greenhouse emissions can be attributed to non-road mobile machinery, energy use in agriculture to power machinery is responsible for 1.5% of GHG emissions, according to REO.
This is roughly the equivalent of 690,000 gigatons of gases per year.
Currently, diesel is still the popular fuel choice for farmers.
This is because diesel packs around 27 times more energy per fuel tank compared to batteries meaning these vehicles can work all day without having to be refilled.
Another issue is that farmers with large acreages may have to leave their base for several days at a time during harvesting seasons. Farmers cannot remain productive unless the EV charging infrastructure is in place so more charge points would need to be installed on farmland.
One way of optimising battery life with tractors is with braking resistors.
“When a driver applies the brakes on a tractor, heat is one of the main excess energies produced and lost,” explains Steve Hughes, managing director at REO UK.
“Regenerative braking involves recovering this energy and feeding it back into other vehicle processes, minimising losses and reducing the amount of required battery power. Braking resistors with good heat dissipation are needed to make sure excess energy is used productively and doesn’t overload the system.”
While the uptake of EVs over the past decade has been one of rapid growth, it is clear that we are still only at the start of our transition to cleaner, greener mobility for the agricultural industry.