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CITRIS Research Exchange: Ricardo de Castro on Sustainable Agtech

Research Exchange event banner. Text reads: "Seminar Series Fall 2022."

Talk Title: “Electric Propulsion in Agriculture Vehicles: Opportunities and Challenges”

Speaker: Ricardo de Castro, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UC Merced

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Abstract: Off-road vehicles, such as tractors, are crucial to a wide range of farming tasks, including tillage and harvesting. Almost all self-propelled agricultural equipment relies on diesel engines, a main source of smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) and other greenhouse gases. According to the California Air Resources Board, off-road vehicles are on track to surpass road transportation as the state’s largest source of NOx emissions by 2022. This is particularly problematic in the San Joaquin Valley, where more than 50 percent of California’s agriculture equipment is used. There is a critical need to decarbonize agriculture and promote sustainable, clean agricultural vehicles. Electrification of tractors is the long-term solution. California aims to transition all off-road vehicles to zero-emission propulsion by 2035 and adopt stricter air pollution regulations for this sector. This talk will focus on the transition from today’s diesel-dominated machines to tomorrow’s zero-emission tractors.

Ricardo de Castro. Speaker Bio: Ricardo de Castro received licenciatura and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computers engineering from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Porto in Portugal in 2006 and 2013, respectively. During 2007–08 he was an entrepreneur with the WeMoveU project, targeting the development of powertrain control solutions for lightweight electric vehicles. From 2013–20, he was with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of System Dynamics and Control (SR), where he developed enabling technologies for electric mobility and automated driving. In 2021, he joined the University of California, Merced, as an assistant professor.

About the Series: CITRIS Research Exchange delivers fresh perspectives on information technology and society from distinguished academic, industry and civic leaders. Free and open to the public, these seminars feature leading voices on societal-scale research issues. Presentations take place on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. PT. Have an idea for a great talk? Please feel free to suggest potential speakers for our series.

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