Rural News: Atomictractor plans zero-emissions power source

By: Chris McCullough

A new zero-emissions power source for conventional tractors is being kept as a heavily guarded secret by its founder. who is developing the hybrid concept.

Campbell Scott

A UK start-up company has announced big plans to develop a new zero-emissions power source for conventional farm tractors and to build a small electric tractor.

Although the exact technology is currently a heavily guarded secret, Atomictractor says its new power source is a hybrid concept that delivers high torque and power plus guaranteed long working hours with minimum downtime for recharge.

Founded by Campbell Scott, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the tractor world gained as a senior executive with AGCO Massey Ferguson, Atomictractor has completed a feasibility study with Aston University in Birmingham, UK, looking at low carbon technologies.

The cutting-edge solution, developed to advanced concept level, provides a practical, highly-efficient answer to those farmers seeking to eliminate diesel costs and future-proof their energy source.

"The precise nature of the technology remains confidential. However, it can be described as the application of the most appropriate solutions from the low-carbon world today and their integration into the specialised field of agriculture," says Campbell.

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 100kW or 134hp diesel engine equivalent.

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.

"We would ideally like to partner with an existing tractor manufacturer. There’s 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," says Campbell.

"However, I’m 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."

Atomictractor is based in Coventry, UK, and aims to build on the longstanding tradition of tractor developments in that city where historically more than three million tractors were designed, manufactured, and exported globally.

"Having studied the feasibility of the proposed concept under the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) programme ‘Promoting Functional Materials’, we’re keen to support this promising initiative," says Dr Abed Alaswad, senior lecturer at Aston University.

"Our lab facilities and research expertise are very well equipped to advance research
in this area."

Atomictractor also plans to develop a new electric-powered small tractor.

"With this, we’re taking our cue from the design principles of the famous Ferguson TE20 ‘Little Grey Fergie’ tractor, first produced in Coventry in 1946," says Campbell.

"Like the TE20, this new futuristic model, called the E20, is aimed at smaller farmers all over the world who need a simple, workmate machine to carry out multiple jobs on the farm."

Since leaving AGCO, Campbell has focused on the technology, public policy, and commercial factors involved in the marketing
of electric vehicles and extensively studied how they can be applied to the world of agriculture.

"Agricultural applications make their own unique demands on a power source. The integration of low-carbon solutions is a specialised subject, which requires new
and innovative thinking outside the traditional sphere of tractor engineering," Campbell says.  

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