British start-up announces hybrid powertrain for tractors

23-02 | |
The Britisch start-up Atomictractor will also produce a branded small tractor: project E20. - Photo: Atomictractor
The Britisch start-up Atomictractor will also produce a branded small tractor: project E20. - Photo: Atomictractor

Atomictractor is developing a zero emissions power unit as an OEM and aftermarket solution for tractors. It’s also developing a small tractor powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.

Atomictractor was founded by Campbell Scott, a former senior executive with global agricultural equipment firm AGCO and its brand Massey Ferguson. Scott has completed a feasibility study with Aston University in Birmingham, UK looking at low carbon technologies.

The hybrid concept is to deliver high torque and power plus guaranteed long working hours with minimum downtime for recharge. “Perfect for the long working days of the harvest or cultivation seasons”, Scott said.

Focus is on tractors up to 100 kW

Campbell Scott is a former senior executive with global agricultural equipment firm AGCO and its brand Massey Ferguson. - Photo: Atomictractor
Campbell Scott is a former senior executive with global agricultural equipment firm AGCO and its brand Massey Ferguson. – Photo: Atomictractor

The power unit is being designed and developed in the UK but will be suitable for global use across a wide range of power applications in agriculture. The initial focus is on tractors up to 100 kW (or 134hp diesel engine equivalent).

“The precise nature of the technology remains confidential,” explains Campbell Scott. However he does disclose it uses a hydrogen fuel cell and battery in a hybrid system depending on power application. The hydrogen fuel cell will deliver its power to the battery, where it is is stored. The battery delivers the power to the electric motor.

Green hydrogen is to be generated by renewable electricity using an on farm electrolyser and electricity for batteries generated on farm by solar/ wind or bio digester ( methane) energy.

Scott said the target selling price of the hybrid power unit is 25 percent more than a diesel equivalent but with a lower cost of ownership over its lifetime.

OEM and after market

Scott says the power unit is to be an OEM and after market solution. “We would ideally like to partner with an existing tractor manufacturer,” he said. “There is a degree of engineering interface required between the new low-carbon drivetrain and the donor tractor and this can be best provided by the tractor maker. However, I am keen to discuss the project with all interested parties who share my vision to deliver practical approaches to the complex problems facing the future of mobile off-road energy sources.”

Scott says his power unit provides a practical, highly-efficient answer to those farmers seeking to eliminate diesel costs and future-proof their energy source. Partners are now being sought to move the project into the prototype and commercialisation phase. Developments will continue to be undertaken in collaboration with Aston University.

Small tractor with hydrogen fuel cell

The “E20” tractor will be equipped with with a hydrogen fuel cell and a conventional mechanical transmission. – Photo: Atomictractor

Besides the zero emission power unit, Atomictractor will also produce a branded small tractor, project E20. This tractor will be equipped with with a hydrogen fuel cell and a conventional mechanical transmission. Scott says it’s aimed at the global small farmer, whether full-time or hobby. Currently he’s working on the proof of concept and a prototype.

Claver
Hugo Claver Web editor for Future Farming



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