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Michigan State University

Dairy Power

A team of MSU researchers recently led a demonstration showcasing an electric tractor designed by Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Professor Ajit Srivastava. The vehicle was highlighted for its ability to operate on renewable electricity generated by a mobile renewable EV charging station with an anaerobic digester and an external combustion engine.

Anaerobic digestion is the biological process where organic matter, like animal and food waste, is broken down to produce biogas. The biogas can be burned to generate electricity and heat, or used as renewable natural gas.

Wei Liao, a professor in MSU's Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering and the director of MSU's Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center, said his hope is to implement mobile EV charging units on small and medium-sized dairy farms as the state continues shifting toward EV production to reduce carbon emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles. He wants to give farmers in rural communities a way not only to charge their own EVs, but also to generate revenue doing it for other’s vehicles.

“We want to use this opportunity to link together the agriculture and auto industry,” Liao said. “They can both benefit from each other.”


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