$1,960 saving over 4 months – Iowa farmers demonstrate benefits of biodiesel

A farmers’ cooperative in Iowa, USA, has staged a demonstration in the state to convince more farmers to switch to biodiesel.

The United Farmers Cooperative, based in the town of Afton, compared two trucks head to head to highlight the benefits of biodiesel. One of the trucks was fuelled with a 5% blend of biodiesel (B5), the other with a 20% blend (B20). The results fell convincingly in favour of biodiesel.

Started in 2016, the four month trial used two identical automatic 18-wheelers with Volvo engines. Darin Schlapia, energy operations manager at the cooperative, recorded the differences in fuel efficiency between B5 and B20. While the B5 averaged 5.19 mpg, the B20 managed 5.84 mpg.

“By using B20, our truck averaged 0.65 mpg better fuel economy, saved 10 cents per gallon on fuel costs, benefited our agricultural economy, and reduced our dependence on foreign oil,” Schlapia told Iowa Farmer Today.

Overall, the B20 truck was $1,960 (1,800EUR) cheaper over the course of the trial period, partly down to the better fuel economy, but also because B20 is sold at a cheaper price than diesel or B5 thanks to federal and state incentives.

“We want to get the good word of biodiesel out there and encourage more farmers to use it,” Schlapia said. “Although we’ve seen biodiesel sales increase fairly dramatically in the last year, it’s surprising how many farmers say they don’t want to try it because of what they heard about it 10 years ago. We’re no longer seeing problems … only success.”