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Biodiesel farm equipment study finds no problems

Researchers conducted study in consultation with agriculture industry groups, through the federal National Renewable Diesel Demonstration Initiative.

OTTAWA - In the Off-Road Biodiesel Demonstration - Agriculture Sector, conducted by the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) from August 2009 to November 2010, farmers using biodiesel blends in agricultural equipment ranging in age from 1965 to 2009 had no biodiesel-related equipment problems. The study found that canola-based biodiesel blends perform well through all seasons, even when left in tanks over winter. During the study period, temperatures ranged from -36 C to 31 C.

The study was conducted at Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, and included eight farmers using over 50 pieces of farm equipment ranging from sub-100-horsepower yard tractors to +500-horsepower, 4-wheel drive tractors. A wide range of combines and swathers and several engine brands and types were represented. Blends containing from 2 per cent to 10 per cent biodiesel were incorporated into the participants' existing farm operations with no modifications to equipment, fuel storage facilities, or fuel handling practices.

"The study included an entire cycle of farm equipment use, including a lengthy off-season storage period," said Grant McVicar, Director of Energy Conservation at SRC, an independent, third-party research organization. McVicar was and one of the investigators for the study. "Throughout the study, fuel quality was closely monitored in tractors, combines, swathers and on-farm bulk fuel storage facilities."

The Renewable Fuels Regulations, published in the Canada Gazette on September 1, 2010, require an average of 2 per cent renewable content in diesel fuel and heating oil. The Government of Canada has proposed a coming into force date of July 1, 2011 for this requirement.

The Government is making the use of biodiesel mandatory to help reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. The requirement for 2 per cent renewable fuel in diesel and heating oil in Canada, combined with provincial regulations, will reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to four megatonnes-the equivalent of taking one million vehicles off the road. Biodiesel is produced from renewable resources, helping to conserve Canada's non-renewable resources.

Information for farmers available

To help inform farmers about the findings of the Off-Road Biodiesel Demonstration - Agriculture Sector study, and to answer questions about the coming biodiesel regulations, a wide range of groups representing farmers and the agricultural and energy industries have worked together to develop a poster, Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions booklet.

These are available at

July 18, 2014  By Canadian Federation of Agriculture


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