Would you like an ELECTRIC TRACTOR?
My proposal is that the tractor manufacturers dare to produce an electric tractor, powered by photovoltaic solar energy and a generator of biofuel.
Does it seem a ridiculous idea? It could be a profitable for off-grid farmers and hard to buy diesel for his tractor.
The idea came from a car model which is already available (Chevrolet Volt, Opel Ampera) that works only with an electric motor based on a rechargeable battery and a combustion engine with the sole function generator. Let’s imagine how it would be a small tractor in remote rural areas with strong daily solar insolation.
This little tractor would have to be very light to have any chance of being economically viable. Therefore it would have to rethink the traditional design of tractors from the same basic chassis and lighter plastic materials, instead of heavy sheet metal. Only if we start from a very light platform may be moved with the minimum energy.
This tractor should have a single electric motor which provides several advantages. The electric motors are economical, maintenance free and with very high efficiency in transforming electrical energy into mechanical energy.
The electric motor should be fed from lithium batteries or similar. This is one of the weakest points of the idea, because currently these batteries are still expensive. However, this type of accumulators will have a strong price decline in the coming years, by the strong development of electric vehicles.
Photovoltaic modules on the same tractor
On the same tractor place a support structure for a series of photovoltaic modules to generate electricity for the batteries. We must be realistic in understanding that this solar generation would be only for a part of the mobility needs of the tractor, due to the limitation of surface on the same tractor.
It has to be mentioned that it would not be possible to move the tractor with only direct photovoltaic energy. That is, the tractor moves with the energy stored in their batteries, for example for 1 hour a day. The PV modules generate electricity throughout all day with the sun, equal to 5 hours of peak power, loading the batteries. What would NOT be possible that tractor would shift live 5 hours a day, based only on the solar PV generation.
There are two advantages to this small autonomous photovoltaic system on the same tractor: On the one hand would provide shade (costly) on the conductor, which is appreciate in warm climates that could be profitable this type of tractor. The second advantage is that if the batteries drain, waiting for the hours needed to recharge, the tractor could return slowly to their farm of origin.
Generator with biofuels
This tractor would have the risk of being stopped by consuming all the electricity stored in batteries. That’s why in many models of electric vehicles are complemented by an engine explosion. The proposal is to have an engine with the sole function of generating electrons to charge batteries (like the Chevrolet Volt). I do not propose a combustion engine to move directly the tractor, because it is more expensive to have two propulsion systems in parallel.
An engine used only as electric generator achieves tight consumption by optimizing their speed for the best electric productivity.
To make the most ecologically tractor, motor-generator could run on alternative fuels to diesel, which is expensive and can be constantly away their replenishment. With a farm capable of producing itself its own biodiesel or ethanol, this engine would be ideal that could feed some of these biofuels, getting full energetic automonia on his farm.
Farm connection to the tractor generator
To minimize investment, it could make a combination between the farm and the tractor:
- The farm assumes the entire photovoltaic installation to load consumption and tractor batteries. The photovoltaic system already installed for electrical needs of the farm could connect to the tractor to load their batteries during the day. In this case, the tractor wouldn’t need any photovoltaic module.
- The tractor biofuel generator provide electricity to supplement the farm batteries, especially at night when the weather conditions (eg rainy days) prevent battery charging with PV. Which would avoid the need to invest in a generator on the farm.
Do you think that manufacturers of tractors can pose this model? Do you see advantages in the case of isolated farms? Your critical comments concern us.