UKIFDA Continues Industry Engagement And Says FAME Impact On Farming Equipment Improving

18th February 2020

The UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association, UKIFDA, is continuing to monitor and actively help resolve the issues some farmers and contractors have been experiencing with biodiesel – and is happy to report a significant decrease in reported issues since December last year.

UKIFDA CEO Guy Pulham comments: “Following the UKIFDA Member regional meetings that we held across the country last October, and from ongoing communications with industry bodies, Government the NFU and the supply chain, the reported problems seemed to be linked to the introduction of a higher blend of FAME in gasoil.”

In April 2018, the legally required percentage of fuels derived from renewable sources increased and refineries and fuel suppliers in the UK and Ireland have been driving the use of Biodiesel across the supply chain. In recent months there has been a rapid increase in the use of FAME up to 7% within the EN590 and BS2869 Gas Oil and Diesel markets.

Guy adds: “Interestingly, the evidence pointed to a cluster issue, as 76% of the reported incidents happened in Central Belt Scotland, Avonmouth, Thames and South England, and East Anglia.

“UKIFDA is working hard to resolve issues reported to us by our members and their customers. At the end of November fuel supplier Petroineos organised a FAME/Gasoil workshop at Grangemouth.  UKIFDA raised a number of questions on behalf of our members in an effort to find patterns that could suggest resolution measures including understanding when FAME was introduced at higher blends, how FAME was blended into the fuel and detail on the types of fuel and FAME used.

“Subsequent to the meeting UKIFDA continued its discussions with the Tank Storage Association (importers and third-party storage providers – known as TSA), UK Petroleum Industry Association (refiners known as UKPIA) and Irish Petroleum Industry Association (Irish refiners, importers and third-party storage providers – known as IPIA) which have been ongoing. Government departments were also made aware of the issue. UKIFDA also met with the National Farmers Union (NFU) to share information and, with additive suppliers to understand their own testing results and make concerted efforts in finding short term solutions. We continue to hold these conversations with pressure also being exerted by the UKIFDA team at both UK and Ireland terminals.

“Our commitment to the potential impact FAME could have on vehicles, machinery and fuel storage tanks is ongoing, and we are providing advice on the matter as well as encouraging all UKIFDA Members to report to us immediately if any problems arise.

“A taskforce has also been created via the BSI (British Standards Institute) Liquid Fuel Committee in December 2019 and UKIFDA will actively support the newly created taskforce looking into standards to help ensure that our UK fuel and FAME standards only allow the highest quality of bio product to be used.

“The information our Members sent us regarding the issues that their customers were facing with specifics around supply point, product and type of problem reported, helped enormously and we urge our Members to inform us of any further issues as soon as they arise.”

UKIFDA Technical Manager Tony Brown comments: “Other factors are naturally at play, as well as the FAME increase or blend issue.

“The compatibility of agricultural machinery with the new fuels, as well as housekeeping and maintenance issues likely played a part – and may cause problems again in the future. It is important that business owners and farmers who use mobile machinery understand what the increased FAME content means for them in terms of vehicles, machinery and fuel storage tanks.

“UKIFDA has produced guidance on housekeeping for the farming community and users of Gasoil and this can be obtained from a UKIFDA member fuel distributor or on the UKIFDA website.”

Guy Pulham adds: “We will continue to engage with the supply chain and associated bodies to understand previous issues and tackle any further ones, and use the lessons learnt for future rollouts of biofuel. Should issues surface again, we want all UKIFDA members to let us know immediately – once we are aware of issues, we can work with the relevant bodies to establish the cause and find the best solution.”

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