Q. The agriculture sector seems to be the most affected by the issue. The regulation for FAME has changed but there seems to be no regulation on the FAME content itself. Can this be clarified?
A. Tony highlighted that in fuel, there is currently a maximum of 7% FAME content, no higher. Malcom raised that anyone who uses red diesel will be affected by the FAME increase, with the bio-element of fuel reaching forecourts in 2008. It was also raised that it was more expensive for companies to buy-out of FAME than to add it.Q. Why has only the agriculture industry been affected?
A. Malcom disagreed and listed both Marine and Road Haulage as other affected industries. Q. Why are my tractors being affected but my white lorries and cars not?
A. Julia, who joined us from Exocet, highlighted that the RAC and AA have been delivering evidence of filter blocking in vehicles since 2012. From that point, a Filter Blocking task force was established for on-road vehicles, and will continue for off-road vehicles. Q. Is the agriculture industry being used as a test for eco-friendly fuel?
A. FAME is also in white diesel, so this seems unlikely. Q. It appears that the fuel industry has not kept up with the recent EU and emissions regulations for machinery. It feels like we’re using 19th century fuel in 21st century equipment.
A. Robert, from John Deere, spoke about how John Deere work with major manufacturers and that the equipment must go through emissions standards. To do so, machinery requires increased injection pressure systems. For this to work, fuel must be very clean and filtered at 4 or 2 microns. The EN 116 test is through a 45 micron filter, so fuel won’t be sufficiently clean. Q. Are the industry experts putting the farmer’s case forward?
A. Robert stated that engine manufacturers are working hard to create the standards they want to see. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time to change fuel standards. Q. Is this issue differing per refinery?
A. 60% of refineries are experiencing problems, Matthew says terminals report that the fuel is on spec, however.Q. Is there a standardised process to adding FAME to fuel?
A. There is a standardised process but the guidelines of which are quite broad, so it does depend on the refinery. Refineries blend at approximately 25-30 degrees, whilst storage facilities will blend at an ambient air temperature. Q. Why can’t the product be filtered before it arrives with the customer?
A. The fuel is filtered off the tanker at 50 microns. Q. Will we face issues in the spring after fuel has been lying dormant in tanks over winter?
A. This is hard to answer as it’s not been experienced yet.Q. What is GTL?
A. GTL stands for Gas to Liquid fuel, and is Shell’s new diesel. It is a more expensive, niche product and it’s not readily available. Q. What would happen if we went back to old fuel standards?
A. Ultimately, the price of fuel would increase.Q. Is rapeseed derived FAME a possibility?
A. The answer from the panel was that this question can be posed.Q. Can a fuel comparison be made with other European countries which can then be taken to the government?
A. NFU are in conversation with British Standards about this. NFU has set up a portal for reporting fuel filter issues which can be found here
. It is encouraged that you report every time you have an issue, so that a bigger picture can be made. Scotland have done something similar and have been able to reduce fuel content to 2%.