Will battery-powered farm machinery help meet net-zero targets?

Net-zero targets remain at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution, spurring an increasing sense of urgency to move towards cleaner technologies.

But within agriculture, the alternative means of powering heavy machinery are yet to live up to the legacy of their fossil-fuelled forebears.

To try to change the narrative, the government has pledged an investment of £80m into electrification technologies – those identified as power electronics, electric machines and drives (PEMD).

See also: Krone, Lemken, JD and Horsch unveil autonomous tractors 

Now in its second year, and with two more to go, the Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge -administered through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – is funding a number of projects working directly on the electrification of agriculture.

Working closely with the challenge, the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) consulted the wider agricultural industry on the reception and implementation of electric farm machinery.

We spoke with Paul Huggett and Pedro Carvalho to discuss their findings, and to see how the fund will affect the electrification of farm machinery.  

What is the purpose of the Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge, and how does it apply to the agricultural sector?

The challenge was born out of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) and is centred around the idea of the decarbonisation of fossil fuel propulsion.

This covers a multitude of sectors, the most obvious of which is the drive towards electric vehicles (EVs) and EV charging, transport and infrastructure across rail, marine, off-road and agriculture.

There are 40-50 projects, of which half a dozen or more have direct relevance to the agriculture industry.

We are seeing a lot of commonality between the demands of the different sectors, so things we learn in marine and rail can cross over into agriculture as well.

The drive towards the decarbonisation of propulsion is really motivated by the desire for a net-zero economy and all the benefits that brings us.

© Fendt

What were the greatest challenges identified by the report?

Tractors. For the agri-food sector, this is the area that came up time and again, and was identified by the interviewees as one that is particularly behind the curve when it comes to electrification.

The main reasons that our respondents identified were the cost and insufficient range of batteries.

Obviously a tractor has a long duty cycle, often doing 12-15 hours of continuous work during the harvest season, and getting the time to charge them would be an issue.

Given the difficulties identified with the electrification of heavy machinery, how do you see the process taking place?

When it comes to heavy machinery, electrification in farming may be better suited to swarm and autonomous robotics.

This is essentially the principle of having small robots that perform individual tasks – for instance, one that sprays the crop, or runs an inter-row weeder.

This doesn’t sit well with common agricultural practice, though, so we may have to rethink our farming systems to accommodate this type of machinery.

The advantage of going to the lightweight robot is that it requires relatively small amounts of electrical power that can most likely be provided by existing infrastructure.

You can also then apply the principal of autonomy to these machines.

This is already being successfully deployed in greenhouses to carry out tasks such as tomato harvesting, as well as picking other fruits and mushrooms.

JCB Loadall

© MAG/Oliver Mark

Are there any problems with using autonomous robots on a larger scale?  

Autonomous robots and drones, for example, have their limitations.  

Aside from electricity, they are almost always dependant on having 4G or 5G data connectivity.

In rural areas, this is often pretty poor, with many fields having little or no network coverage – so this is currently not a fully reliable solution in parts of rural Britain.

How will swarm robotics/autonomous robots be commercially viable in a farming system?

To help increase acceptance of electrification, we need a robust commercial model where the robot developers, manufacturers and repairers can have an equitable solution that suits farming operators.

Researchers have been looking at different financial models for deploying these machines.

One model is based around having job-specific robots, such as one for scouting that spends all its time in the field assessing, identifying and removing weeds.

This is either leased or purchased by the farmer – kind of like a “rent-a-robot” system.

In a way, this is similar to contract harvesting – a farmer may not own a combine, but would acquire the relevant kit and operator needed for the harvest.

It’s the same commercial model, just applied to robots.  

Lely Vector robot

© Lely

Are there any alternatives to electrification?

There are several alternatives on their way, with developments being made with hydrogen engines and hydrogen fuel cells.

Is the farming sector likely to meet net-zero targets?

In the short term, I’ll stick my neck out and say no, probably not. If you want to haul tonnes of silage off a recently cut field, I think you’re going to be hard pushed to do so with an electric vehicle.

One of the aspects we found of the farming community, which is fairly obvious to those who live in it, is the relative weakness of the infrastructure.

By that I mean that most farms do not have huge amounts of electrical power being delivered.

However, what they do have is the opportunity and potential to generate significant amounts of zero-carbon electricity through means such as solar and wind, and these could be used as local energy sources.

But the technology behind the renewables integration to feed the electricity demand for the electrification of agriculture is at the very early stage.

You may end up with fantastic electric tractors eventually, though you still need hundreds of kilowatts of power to recharge them – and that’s a problem.

Mass electrification is not just around the corner, and we need to combine it with simultaneous renewable energy integration.

This infrastructure needs to be in place before electrification can be rolled out en masse.

It needs to be thought of as an integrated solution – you’re not going to get farmers adopting electric traction without significant charging infrastructure and without the ability to deliver large amounts of power to the farm when and where it’s needed.

Farm robot in field

© Swarm Farm Robotics

Is there a short-term solution to bridge the gap between fossil fuels and electrification?

Chip fat – seriously!

The short-term answer will likely be synthetic internal combustion engine fuels.

By this, we mean non-fossil fuels. There are a number of ways of making non-fossil fuels for internal combustion engines, using everything from algae all the way through to used chip fat and certain food production wastes.

They’re notionally carbon neutral, but in practice their carbon status is a little more complex than that because you have to do some work to produce them.

One method, the transesterification of fatty acids, converts things such as palm oil and rapeseed oil into diesel analogue.

Palm oil is, of course, ecologically disastrous, as its production has caused severe damage to the rainforest, and rapeseed oil is subject to vast variations in price, determined by the markets.

But low-carbon synthetic fuels are a stepping stone and potentially a long-term solution for the very high-powered vehicles where electrification is impractical.

How environmentally friendly are electric vehicles to produce, and what happens to their old batteries?

Mining consumes about 6% of the world’s energy – and to make an EV, you need to mine cobalt and graphite, along with lots of metals such as copper and aluminium.

So EV production only really works if you have a circular economy, and for this recycling is the key.  

We need value retention – this means keeping as much of the embedded value of the product, not just taking an electric motor and smashing it up, or taking a battery and scrapping it. Instead, we need to keep the value and recycle it.

There are two organisations under the Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge that are looking at battery manufacturing and recycling, disassembling them and extracting their critical materials to actually recreate new batteries.

Is the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine likely to affect net-zero targets or the electrification industry more widely?

The present crisis is highlighting where we have supply chain vulnerabilities.

When it comes to batteries, the globalisation of electrification has meant there are a number of minerals, and particularly metals, that have been flagged as critical to the electrification programme.

For batteries specifically, this means lithium and cobalt, along with some materials known as rare earth elements.

Titanium is another crucial metal, and one that is sourced predominantly from Russia.

It is too early too tell whether there will be any effect on supply, but it will likely be dictated by the intensity and duration of the troubles we are seeing.

We also source special metals for making EV magnets from countries all over the world.

Known as neodymium dysprosium iron boron magnets, the metals are found in parts of China, Australia and southern Africa – so it’s a global marketplace.

Can agriculture adapt to the electrification of machinery?

It’s often said that farmers don’t like change. After nearly 20 years working with farmers, that’s not the impression I have.

Farmers are open to change and to trying new equipment, but this needs to be reliable. Currently, the issue is that the electric alternatives are not available to them.

All of the producers we contacted were willing to explore electric products, provided they receive the relevant support and are convinced the machines can be relied on.  

Source link

Show all Most Helpful Highest Rating Lowest Rating Add your review
  1. You actually reported it adequately. buy cheap essay online writing thesis dissertation examples

  2. Whoa loads of very good facts!
    essay writing services toronto how to write a thesis writers wanted online

  3. Very good posts. Appreciate it! thesis paper help writing a argumentative essay

  4. Thanks a lot. I enjoy it. writing paragraphs and essays online coursework essay writing service

  5. Many thanks! An abundance of material!
    how to write an essay response importance of college education essay phd dissertation writing service

  6. Whoa a lot of superb material!
    costco pharmacy pricing prescription drugs from canada online shoppers pharmacy https://canadianpharmacies-24h.com

  7. Useful information. Thanks!
    canadian pharmacy certified canada pharmacy online online pharmacy canada pharmacy canada

  8. Incredible loads of helpful facts.
    write essays for cash academic essay help creative writing websites for students

  9. Seriously a good deal of great tips!
    discount pharmacies best canadian online pharmacies canadian prescription drugstore

  10. With thanks. Wonderful information.
    citing website in essay https://theessayswriters.com/ essays website

  11. Incredible a good deal of excellent data.
    essay about writing experience https://englishessayhelp.com/ cheap custom writing

  12. Nicely put. Many thanks!
    fda approved canadian online pharmacies canadian meds prescription online https://canadapharmacyspace.com

  13. Thanks a lot, Helpful information!
    trust pharmacy canada viagra canada canadian pharmacies that are legit

  14. Cheers, I enjoy this!
    how to write a paragraph essay https://homeworkcourseworkhelps.com/ top essay writing services

  15. Reliable information. Cheers.
    canada drugs direct medication costs pharmacy uk

  16. With thanks. Ample material!
    introduction college essay write my essay i need help writing

  17. Lovely content. With thanks!
    best online canadian pharcharmy compare rx prices cialis generic pharmacy online https://canadapharmacies-24h.com

  18. Thank you! Useful information!
    college essay writing company writing 5 paragraph essay help with writing personal statement

  19. Wow a lot of useful knowledge!
    online discount pharmacy canadian pharmacy certified canada pharmacy online canada online pharmacies

  20. With thanks! Valuable information.
    safeway pharmacy ordering prescriptions from canada legally canadian drugs without prescription

  21. Really many of great information.
    writing custom essays good essay writing service college essay writing service

  22. You actually said this fantastically!
    how to write an narrative essay how to write a reaction essay thesis writing service reviews

  23. You have made your point very effectively!.
    canadian viagra generic pharmacy canadian pharmaceuticals online reviews online pharmacy school https://canadianonlinepharmacybase.com

  24. Terrific info. Kudos.
    how to write a movie review essay what is the best online essay writing service good essay writing service

  25. Nicely put, Thanks a lot.
    canada drugs direct generic viagra online canadian rx

  26. Good material. Kudos!
    drugs from canada with prescription drugs online canada pharmaceuticals

  27. Incredible a good deal of awesome tips.
    how to write a creative essay how to write an argument essay essay writing website reviews

  28. Amazing info. Regards!
    mexican pharmacy online medications pharmacy online cheap online pharmacy india https://onlinepharmacycanadahelp.com

  29. You made the point.
    uc college essay prompts models for writers short essays for composition write my assignments

  30. You actually said it superbly.
    canadian online pharmacies prescription drugs legitimate online pharmacies fda approved canadian online pharmacies

  31. Many thanks! A lot of tips.
    canadian online pharmacies legitimate by aarp cheap prescription drugs online canada pharmaceuticals

  32. You stated it wonderfully!
    best custom essays essay writing service writing services canada

  33. You suggested this superbly.
    how to write a analytical essay https://writingthesistops.com/ copywriting service

  34. Helpful information. Regards!
    mexican pharmacies online canadapharmacy aarp approved canadian online pharmacies https://canadapharmacyspace.com

  35. Fine content. Cheers!
    what to write my college essay on essays writing services dissertation writing help

  36. Thank you, I value it!
    canadadrugstore365 prescription drugs canada canadian pharcharmy

  37. Thank you! Terrific information!
    canadian pharmacies shipping to usa viagra pharmacy 100mg pharmacy online mexico

  38. Amazing material. With thanks!
    essay on social service https://agbsl.pro/ essay writing website reviews

  39. Awesome data. Cheers!
    what is the best essay writing service essay writing service essays writer

  40. Regards. Useful information.
    college goals essay essay proofreading services professional writing website

  41. Awesome posts. Cheers.
    canadian drugstore medicine online order north west pharmacy canada

  42. Beneficial postings. Kudos.
    mexican online pharmacies viagra online canadian pharmacy apollo pharmacy online

  43. Kudos, A good amount of information!
    college essay prompts essay writing service help with assignment writing

  44. This is nicely put! !
    essay writing service forum https://theessayswriters.com/ online cv writing services

  45. With thanks, A good amount of tips!
    trusted overseas pharmacies buy medication without an rx costco online pharmacy https://canadianpharmacylist.com

  46. Information well applied!!
    cheap essay online custom essay writing service i need help writing my personal statement

  47. You have made the point!
    online canadian pharmacy canadian pharmacy pharmacy in canada

  48. Thank you, Good stuff.
    top rated canadian pharmacies online canadian family pharmacy canadian pharmacies online

  49. Amazing all kinds of excellent information.
    heading for college application essay https://essaypromaster.com/ creative writing services

  50. Appreciate it! Plenty of content!
    write a scholarship essay essay writer writing custom

  51. Nicely put. Thanks!
    steps to writing a college essay essay writer best essay writing services

  52. Truly a good deal of good material.
    rx pharmacy legit online pharmacy cheap drugs online https://canadianpharmacyonlinedb.com

  53. With thanks. Fantastic information!
    best canadian mail order pharmacies canadian online pharmacy reviews online pharmacy without scripts

  54. Nicely put. Kudos.
    writing a thesis statement for an essay editing college essays professional ghostwriting services

  55. Many thanks, Loads of forum posts!
    college supplement essay essays writing services law essay writing service

  56. You actually revealed this really well!
    cheap essay writers argumentative essay topics writing services online

  57. Amazing facts. Appreciate it.
    list of legitimate canadian pharmacies canadian drug meds online https://canadianpharmacyonlinedb.com

  58. With thanks, Lots of advice!
    prescription pricing pharmacy intern canada drugs online

  59. You said it nicely.!
    legitimate canadian mail order pharmacies cialis online best non prescription online pharmacies

  60. Many thanks. Useful information.
    college essay writing essay writing service website evaluation essay

  61. Whoa quite a lot of helpful tips.
    magic essay writer https://essaywriting4you.com/ best online essay writing services

  62. Thank you. Quite a lot of forum posts!
    prescription cost mexican pharmacy online reputable canadian mail order pharmacies https://canadadrugspower.com

  63. Beneficial knowledge. Regards!
    24 hour pharmacy best canadian pharmacies cheap prescription drugs

  64. Really loads of helpful material.
    canadian pharmacy drugs online order prescriptions online without doctor prescription online

  65. You mentioned that superbly!
    medical school essay service https://service-essay.com/ copywriting services

  66. You’ve made your stand extremely nicely.!
    how to write an objective essay essays writer writing essays services

  67. Good facts, Thank you!
    steps to write a essay https://essaypromaster.com/ custom dissertation writing service

  68. Thanks a lot! I value this.
    pharmacy online prescription canadian pharmacy cialis canada drug https://canadarx-drugservices.com

  69. Many thanks. Lots of advice!
    online order medicine approved canadian online pharmacies best canadian online pharmacies

  70. You expressed it effectively!
    medical information online cialis online pharmacy canada pharmacy online reviews

  71. You actually mentioned that terrifically.
    how to write an essay intro act writing essay best cv writing service london

  72. Tips very well used.!
    college essay checklist writing my essay custom article writing service

  73. Seriously a lot of superb facts.
    essay write how to write argument essay hiring a freelance writer

  74. Nicely put, Kudos!
    canadian drug stores online buy cialis prescription drug assistance https://canadapharmacies-24h.com

  75. Whoa plenty of great tips.
    canadian pharcharmy online fda approved canada drugs direct online drugstore pharmacy

  76. Thanks, Quite a lot of advice.
    a college essay essaytyper writing and editing services

  77. Thanks a lot, Plenty of postings.
    where can i pay someone to write my essay how to find college essay prompts cheap custom writings

  78. Good info. Thanks a lot!
    steps to writing a essay someone write my essay essay website

  79. Regards, Valuable stuff.
    canadian viagra canada pharmacies online canadian online pharmacies legitimate by aarp https://online-pharmacy-inc.com

  80. Nicely put. Many thanks.
    mexican pharmacies shipping to usa 24 hour pharmacy canadian drugs online pharmacy

  81. Good material, Regards.
    canadian pharmacy viagra brand canadian online pharmacies costco pharmacy pricing

  82. Regards, A good amount of data!
    top essay writing sites writing essay about yourself us government resume writing service

  83. This is nicely said! !
    how to write 500 word essay essay writing services ebook writing service

  84. Helpful facts. Kudos.
    essay on college education how to write an argumentative essay personal statement writer

  85. This is nicely expressed. .
    canadian pharmacy cialis canadian pharmacy viagra compare rx prices https://canadianpharmacies-24h.com

  86. You revealed that fantastically.
    canadadrugsonline cialis from canada drugs online

  87. Point well considered.!
    safe canadian online pharmacies shoppers drug mart canada pharmacy near me

  88. Kudos. Ample write ups!
    college essay helper https://freshapps.space/ case study writing services

  89. You made your point very clearly..
    money cant buy happiness essay essay writings custom dissertation writing service

  90. With thanks! Quite a lot of write ups.
    australia essay writing service essay rewriter cheap assignment writing service

  91. Really a good deal of wonderful advice.
    online discount pharmacy canada drug pharmacy canadian pharmacy review https://canadapharmacies-24h.com

  92. You actually expressed it fantastically.
    drugs from canada online canadian drugstore online canadian drugs online pharmacies

  93. Amazing loads of terrific tips!
    canada drug no prescription pharmacies highest rated canadian pharmacies

  94. Cheers. Great information!
    custom essay writing college english essay citing a website in an essay

  95. You said it nicely..
    how to write a movie review essay writing my essay marketing writer

  96. Appreciate it! Numerous postings.
    how to write an essay for college admission buy essays online safe seo writing services

  97. Info effectively regarded!!
    online canadian discount pharmacy no prior prescription required pharmacy online pharmacy no prescription https://canadapharmacies-24h.com

  98. This is nicely expressed! .
    pain meds online without doctor prescription mexican pharmacy online best online pharmacy stores

  99. With thanks, Plenty of forum posts.
    what to write an argumentative essay on https://englishessayhelp.com/ customer service writing

  100. With thanks. I appreciate this!
    best non prescription online pharmacies drugs from canada with prescription canadian pharmacy without prescription

  101. You made the point!
    buying an essay https://freshapps.space/ help with handwriting

  102. Whoa all kinds of fantastic data!
    custom essays for sale college essays do my writing homework

  103. You actually expressed that superbly.
    canadian drugs pharmacies online best canadian mail order pharmacies north west pharmacy canada https://canadarx-drugservices.com

  104. Perfectly voiced without a doubt! !
    navarro pharmacy navarro pharmacy miami drugs without prescription

  105. You reported that adequately.
    american essay writing service essaytyper best online writing service

  106. Whoa lots of fantastic material!
    best non prescription online pharmacies canadian pharmacy generic viagra cheap canadian drugs

  107. Thanks, Good information!
    how to write an amazing college essay how to write an analytical essay professional assignment writers

  108. Regards! Very good stuff!
    how to write an college essay essay rewriter blog writing services

  109. You explained that terrifically.
    online pharmacies no prescription legal canadian prescription drugs online canadian pharmacies without an rx https://canadapharmacyspace.com

  110. Thanks a lot! Helpful information!
    freelance essay writers worst college essays affordable writing services

  111. Thanks, Helpful information.
    online medicine tablets shopping canadian pharmacies-247 prescription drugs canada

  112. Truly a lot of useful material!
    how to write college essays are essay writing services legal research writing help

  113. Nicely put, Thanks a lot!
    discount pharmaceuticals global pharmacy canada order medicine online

  114. You actually suggested that exceptionally well!
    compare and contrast essay on high school and college how to write narrative essay coursework writing help

  115. You actually reported this superbly!
    canadian drugs online pharmacies panacea pharmacy canadian drugs online pharmacies https://northwestpharmacylabs.com

  116. You expressed that fantastically.
    essays website https://quality-essays.com/ help writing a thesis statement

  117. Thanks. Loads of forum posts.
    canadian pharmacy generic viagra legal canadian prescription drugs online canada pharmacies prescription drugs

  118. Nicely put. Thanks!
    writing essay about yourself help write an essay custom writings discount code

  119. Nicely put, Kudos.
    cheap prescription drugs online mexican pharmacies shipping to usa canadian drugs online pharmacies

  120. Kudos, Excellent information.
    great college essay https://writingthesistops.com/ essay writing website

  121. Nicely put, With thanks!
    canadian pharmacy online viagra canadian pharma companies canada pharmacies/account https://canadianpharmacyonlinedb.com

  122. Cheers! Ample tips!
    writing an essay ppt personal essay college rewriting service

  123. Kudos. I like it.
    best essay writing services essay writer writing helps

  124. Truly loads of useful advice.
    prescription cost canadadrugsonline canadian government approved pharmacies

  125. Very good content. Regards!
    online pharmacies uk prescription cost walmart online pharmacy

  126. Thanks. Ample write ups!
    writing the college essay college essay a website that writes essays for you

  127. Wow loads of terrific material!
    how to write a introduction paragraph for an essay essays writers help with thesis writing

  128. This is nicely expressed! !
    no 1 canadian pharcharmy online cheap canadian drugs mail order pharmacies https://onlinepharmacycanadahelp.com

  129. You mentioned this wonderfully.
    i need help with writing an essay writing essays custom website that writes your essay for you

  130. Helpful info. Kudos!
    most reliable canadian pharmacies canadian prescription drugs canada drug pharmacy

  131. You said it nicely.!
    humana online pharmacy north west pharmacy canada discount pharmacies

  132. Effectively expressed without a doubt! !
    learning how to write an essay college essay custom article writing

  133. You actually explained that adequately.
    writing a personal essay for college i can t write an essay best seo article writing service

  134. Many thanks, Loads of posts.
    pharmacy online shopping online pharmacies of canada cialis canada https://canadapharmacyspace.com

  135. Thanks, Quite a lot of data.
    college application essay prompts how to write a thesis essay phd writers

  136. You expressed it effectively!
    internet pharmacy legit online pharmacy canada drugs online pharmacy

  137. Superb content. Thank you!
    how to write a good argumentative essay https://dissertationwritingtops.com/ writer dissertation

  138. Thanks a lot! I value it!
    canadian online pharmacy reviews canadian pharcharmy online pharmacies of canada

  139. Awesome stuff. Cheers!
    why do we write essays good college essays writers services

  140. Many thanks. Terrific stuff!
    college vs high school essay https://orangepornhub.com/ assignment writing service

  141. Truly a good deal of great data!
    online pet pharmacy pharmeasy cialis online pharmacy https://rxpharmacyteam.com

  142. You actually reported this superbly.
    what is a personal essay for college essay writing services write my report online

  143. Incredible a lot of great data!
    canadian pharmacy drugs online canadian pharmacies without prescriptions national pharmacies online

  144. Very well expressed of course. .
    writing mba essays essays writers content writing services vancouver

  145. Kudos, A good amount of material.
    my college experience essay https://theessayswriters.com/ write my assignment

  146. Good postings, Appreciate it!
    canada drugs direct apollo pharmacy online canadian viagra generic pharmacy https://rxpharmacyteam.com

  147. You mentioned it wonderfully.
    common application essay help https://orangepornhub.com/ custom writing cheap

  148. Awesome material. Thank you.
    pharmacy cost comparison panacea pharmacy canadian pharmacies online prescriptions

  149. You definitely made your point.
    prescription drugs online without pain meds online without doctor prescription buy cialis

  150. Many thanks, A lot of content.
    college applications essays colleges that don t require essays australia essay writing service

  151. With thanks, Numerous facts.
    college comparison essay how to head a college essay writers services

  152. Really tons of useful material!
    prescription drug price comparison compare prescription prices canada pharmaceuticals online https://canadianonlinepharmacybase.com

  153. With thanks. An abundance of knowledge.
    what to write a compare and contrast essay on https://flowleadsua.com/ online writing service

  154. This is nicely said! !
    price prescription drugs canadian pharmacy without prescription drugs for sale

  155. Nicely put, With thanks!
    online pharmacy no prescription needed online drugs canada pharmacies without script

  156. Excellent postings. Kudos!
    how to write the essay essays writer help me write a report

  157. You said that wonderfully!
    writing a college essay write my essay can you write my assignment

  158. Thanks! I enjoy this!
    mexican pharmacy online medications global pharmacy canada online pharmacy without a prescription https://onlinepharmacycanadahelp.com

  159. Terrific write ups. Thanks a lot.
    help writing college essays essay prompts for college seo writing service

Leave a reply

Enable registration in settings - general
Shopping cart