Research and development project ResiTrac
ResiTrac - Resilient Food Production with Green Tractors

A green tractor with yellow rims on a track in front of a yellow rapeseed field amidst fields

Prototype of a John Deere pure plant oil tractor of the 6R series

Agricultural machinery has a big impact on the CO2 footprint of modern farming. Machines typically have combustion engines and burn fossil fuels like diesel. ResiTrac has the goal to develop, test and introduce tractors to the market which do not use diesel, but pure plant oil (PPO) like rapeseed oil. This does not only reduce the CO2 footprint of food production, it also makes the farmer independent from the volatile market of imported fossil fuels, because he can grow the necessary oil crops on his own farm. The tractors will be developed by John Deere and tested in Italy, Switzerland and Germany under the accompanying scientific research of the Bern University of Applied Sciences, the Laimburg Research Centre and the TFZ.


The project ResiTrac (Resilient Food Production with Green Tractors) has the goal to develop, test and introduce tractors to the market that can be operated with 100 % pure plant oil (PPO) with equal power performance and maintenance to serial diesel operation, comfortable regeneration of the exhaust gas aftertreatment system and the capability of using different kinds of PPO, depending on the regional availability (e. g. rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil).

Methodology/Key Activities

The engine controller software and some hardware components of current tractors will be adapted to the differing fuel characteristics by John Deere. A fleet of tractors will be equipped with the developed technology and supplied to farms in Italy, Switzerland, and Germany to demonstrate the practicability and usability in real farming operations. The machines will also be tested on tractor test benches to ensure the reliability of the engines as well as the compliance to emission regulations. Furthermore, emissions are measured on tractors in real farming operations in the field and CO2-reduction potential will be calculated. The results will allow life cycle assessment of these tractors compared to standard diesel tractors.

Current Impressions

One woman and 10 men are standing in a room in front of wooden wall on left side and one after the other placed green painted wooden arches in the middle and right wall text.

Kick-off meeting at TFZ

Four persons stand bevor a tractor

Tractor handover to the Schwarzenau state farm

A John Deere tractor with a potato harvester attached drives from left to right along the potato field under a blue sky.

Potato harvesting in the Gäuboden

John Deere tractor parked on pavement in front of building from center of picture, front facing left. 5 men are talking in the right part of the picture.

The students at the technical college follow Andreas Platzer's explanations on vegetable oil technology.

Self-sufficient with renewable fuels – Is this possible in agriculture?
Can agriculture supply itself with renewable fuel? Students from the Waldmünchen Technical College for Environmental Protection Technology and Renewable Energies were able to see for themselves that this is possible at Andreas and Regina Platzer's farm in Rhan/Schönthal.
The farm has been producing most of the fuel it needs itself for years. The Platzers replace diesel with rapeseed oil fuel. To do this, the rapeseed is harvested, pressed in their own oil mill, then filtered and freed of unwanted fat accompanying substances. The fuel can then be filled up by the tractors. Until now, the fuel has been used in tractors with two-tank systems, which start with conventional diesel and switch to rapeseed oil once the operating temperature is reached.
In the ResiTrac project funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT-Food), tractors with a single tank system and the current exhaust gas stage V are being put through their paces in daily practical use. The name "ResiTrac" stands for "Resilient Food Production with Green Tractors", which loosely translated means "crisis-proof food production with environmentally friendly tractors".
For this purpose, the Platzer farm was provided with a tractor converted to run on vegetable oil by project partner John Deere. The vehicle is maintained and regular exhaust and performance measurements are carried out by the Straubing Technology and Support Center.
Since the end of September 2023, the John Deere 6R150 has been used daily for all the work that needs to be done - so far to the great satisfaction of the Platzer couple.


The results will be available here at the end of the project.

Project information
Project title: ResiTrac - Resilient Food Production with Green Tractors
Project leader: Dr. Edgar Remmele
Person responsible: Kaspar Obermaier
Project duration: January 01, 2023 to December 31, 2024
Funding agency: eit Food, co-funded by the European Union
Project partners:
- John Deere GmbH und Co. KG, Germany
- Berne University of Applied Sciences / School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (BFH/HAFL), Switzerland
- Laimburg Research Centre, Italy

Logo eit Food and flag of the European Union, font colour blew