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Micro-electric tractors for deep bed farming and sustainable micro-grid electricity

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posted on 2024-05-29, 13:11 authored by Toby WilliamsToby Williams, Jonathan WilsonJonathan Wilson, Lee PartingtonLee Partington, Cameron Andrews, Isaac Chavula, France Gondwe, Tom BettsTom Betts, Dani StricklandDani Strickland

This paper describes an innovative method to provide a micro-electric tractor which has been developed as part of an initiative that aims to provide socially inclusive and affordable green energy solutions to smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa. It utilizes a 15.0kW solar array and battery system to power micro electric tractors for an agricultural practice in Malawi called Deep Bed Farming. Deep Bed Farming has been claimed to increase smallholder crop yield by about two and half times which increases revenue by up to 12 times. The extra revenue can then be used to perpetually purchase domestic energy from the solar array, creating a self-sustaining model for decentralized energy access. However, the requirement for land preparation is onerous and mechanization is needed to help overcome barriers to entry. This paper describes the technical requirements of a solar base station and micro tractor for use with Deep Bed Farming technique. The paper covers the design of 5.9kWp modular solar design and a 10.0kWh rated micro tractor. Testing was undertaken as an isolated grid in Loughborough as a precursor to plans for large scale testing in Malawi.

Funding

AfTrak - Micro Electric Agriculture for Africa

Innovate UK

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History

School

  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering

Research Unit

  • Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST)

Published in

Frontiers in Energy Research

Volume

12

Publisher

Frontiers Media S.A.

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Williams, Wilson, Partington, Andrews, Chavula, Gondwe, Betts and Strickland

Publisher statement

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Acceptance date

2024-05-08

Copyright date

2024

ISSN

2296-598X

eISSN

2296-598X

Language

  • en

Depositor

Prof Dani Strickland. Deposit date: 29 May 2024

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