The folks at the Propane Education and Research Council, the checkoff fund for propane producers, are constantly looking for new ways to put propane to work. The low-cost fuel is a byproduct of natural gas production and the supply is abundant these days, which also means prices are lower than for some fuels.
Irrigators and users of stationary engines already have a range of power sources to choose from. We ran into Origin Engines at Husker Harvest days, where they were showing off their 8.0-liter V8 propane engine based off of an original General Motors block design that GM no longer makes. Certified for propane use at the end of 2012 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the new engine is now available for use.
The key with propane engines is that they're spark engines and don't have to meet NOx and particulate emission standards. Yes, they have to emission controls, but more like a car engine and they're relatively simple to maintain.
Perhaps the more fun part of visiting the PERC exhibit at a farm show is to see how others are putting propane to work. Those handy tanks are visible on everything from lawn mowers to pickup trucks. The image in this blog shows you an interesting commercial application for propane - the push-behind commercial grade lawnmower.
The key is that propane burns cleaner and has a lower carbon footprint than other fuels - like gas and diesel - in similar operations. And the folks at PERC are hard at work promoting the benefits.
You can learn more about different ways to use propane at their website - propanecouncil.org.
The organization is offering incentives for buying specific kinds of grain dryers - and in some states you can double dip to get even more help. Talk with your propane dealer - or check out the website - for more information.