If biodiesel suits any demographic best, it’s farmers. Biodiesel was designed as an emergency fuel, intended to keep farm equipment humming when military conflict cut off oil supplies. That being said, it’s taken a while for major engine manufacturers to endorse biodiesel blends higher than 20%. This month Case IH, a global leader in heavy-duty agricultural equipment, has broadened its support of biodiesel to include B100:
Farmers now can use B100 on nearly all Case IH medium- to high-horsepower tractors, combines, windrowers, and most self-propelled sprayers and cotton pickers — so long as proper protocols are followed for engine operation and maintenance.
“With record prices for crude oil, Case IH committed to exploring better ways to use environmentally-friendly biofuels made from renewable raw materials. We have conducted rigorous laboratory and in-field tests to evaluate how our engines perform with various biodiesel blends,” says Don Rieser, Case IH director of tractor product management. “As always, our ultimate goal is greater productivity for our customers. That’s why we also are committed to educating our dealers and customers on how to get the best results with biodiesel fuels — especially when using higher-level blends.”
Industry support is important because farm equipment isn’t cheap, and no farmer wants to see his or her warranty voided on a $200,000 piece of machinery.
Another giant of the agricultural world, John Deere, has also clarified its support of biodiesel up to B20 blends. Deere doesn’t sanction blends higher than B20 unless the biodiesel meets European specifications, which they say stems from concern over meeting emissions standards.
“We recognize the importance of biofuels to our customers and to the environment,” Brown said. “Use of biofuels in John Deere diesel engines is the right thing to do from a long-term economic and environmental standpoint.”
Sounds like they need to have a friendly discussion with Case IH about letting farmers use B100. For more information, see the manufacturer websites:
John Deere Clarifies Position on Use of Biodiesel (Nov. 12, 2007)
Case IH Expands B100 Biodiesel Use in Farm Equipment (Dec. 03, 2007)