Guidance issued for farmers suffering biodiesel problems

Fuel suppliers have issued guidance for farmers and contractors who say biodiesel is causing low fuel pressure and blocking filters in tractors.

Some farmers have suggested the problems are related to an increase in the fatty acid methyl ester (Fame) content of diesel fuel, which influences its performance.

See also: Farmers struggling with diesel quality problems

Fame is the generic chemical term for biodiesel derived from renewable sources.

But the UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (Ukifda), which represents fuel suppliers, said initial feedback had found nothing wrong with the fuel distributed by its members.

Water ingress

Association members had been asked for information about the reported issues and their fuel met the correct standards, said Ukifda technical manager Tony Brown.

“Issues were more likely to be related to water ingress in unprepared storage at consumer premises, although Ukifda is continuing to gather evidence on any specific equipment issues.”

The association issued guidance and information about the management and storage of gas oil last year – and was happy to do so again, said Mr Brown.

Awareness campaign

It is now running a campaign to ensure all users of sulphur-free gas oil are aware of the effect Fame biodiesel can have on their equipment.

Mr Brown said: “It is important that business owners and farmers who use mobile machinery understand what this means for them.”

Advice and guidance when using biofuel

  • Give the tank a specialist clean before taking delivery of any biofuel, or check on the tank immediately after, ensuring you keep the fuel clean and free of moisture.
  • Keep tanks topped up to reduce air, which can draw moisture.
  • Continue to carry out regular tank checks and take remedial action if you notice any water, dirt, mould or growth.
  • Examine filters, pipework and seals on a regular basis and replace filters after every two or three deliveries.
  • Water can be a big problem, so limit the storage time of Fame-blended fuels.
  • If you find sediment or bacterial growth, seek professional help – home remedies such as fungicides or microbiological killers can do more harm in the long run.
  • Fungicides that do work may kill the bacteria, but the dead growth on the bottom of the tank can also build up and cause issues.
  • Ensure fuel is bought from a reputable distributor.

Source: Ukifda