The Renewable Fuel Standards will have an effect on farmers. The federal mandate is that there is a renewable fuel quantity that must be added to fossil fuel, for gasoline a five per cent ethanol blend will be added and for biodiesel a two per cent blend will be added to diesel. These amounts are on an annual basis.
“These new renewable fuel standards do have implications for the farm and farm equipment. Farmers need to know what the benefits of biofuels are, as well as what changes of practice need to happen to safeguard their equipment,” says Michael Bevans, project engineer with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s AgTech Centre. “Biofuel does have problems with long-term storage.
“Biofuel is made from renewable feedstock and will spoil over time. Farmers need to be aware that they shouldn’t keep biofuel in tanks or sitting around longer than six months. If spoiled biofuel is run through engines, there can be problems with injectors and pumps.”
Also, biofuel acts as a solvent which breaks down the buildup that accumulates with the use of and natural storage of petroleum. To give adequate protection for the injectors and injector pump on machinery, it is recommended that farmers get a good filtration system on their storage tanks, something with a 10 micron or smaller size on the filter. Initially, filters will need to be changed more frequently.
“Biofuel will absorb water vapour from the air,” says Bevans. “It is recommended to have a good water separation system on your tanks. Don’t use additives that emulsify water into the fuel as this can cause rusting over time. Use only additives that separate water from the fuel so any water can be drained off.”
Farmers need to talk to their fuel suppliers about the percentage of biofuel they are using, and also to equipment manufacturers and dealerships about these new requirements as they relate to equipment storage and seasonal equipment.
Information on frequently asked questions (FAQ sheets) has been produced to help farmers through these changes. Farmers are welcome to call the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276) for copies of the FAQ sheets, additional information and contacts on specific and technical questions.
“Farmersneedto beawarethatthey shouldn’tkeep biofuelintanksor sittingaroundlonger thansixmonths.”
– michael bevans, agtech centre