Industry engagement continues in quest to resolve FAME issues

UKIFDA, which continues to monitor and actively help resolve the issues some farmers and contractors have been experiencing with biodiesel, is ‘happy to report a significant decrease in reported issues since December last year’ with an improving picture on farming equipment 

“Should issues surface again, we want all UKIFDA members to let us know immediately. Once aware of issues, we can then work with the relevant bodies to establish the cause and find the best solution,” said Guy Pulham

“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,” commented UKIFDA CEO Guy Pulham.

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.

“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,” added Guy.
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 TSA, UKPIA and the Irish Petroleum Industry Association (IPIA). Government departments were also made aware of the issue. UKIFDA also met with the 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 any problems as they arise.
“In December 2019 a taskforce was created via the BSI Liquid Fuel Committee with UKIFDA actively supporting the newly created taskforce to look into standards to help ensure that our UK fuel and FAME standards only allow for the use of the highest quality of bio product.
“Information sent by members regarding issues faced by their customers with specifics around supply point, product and type of problem reported, has helped enormously and we urge our members to inform us should further issues arise.”

Tony Brown

UKIFDA technical manager Tony Brown also commented:
“As well as the FAME increase or blend issue, other factors are naturally at play. The compatibility of agricultural machinery with the new fuels, as well as housekeeping and maintenance issues are likely to have 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 gas oil which can be obtained from a UKIFDA member fuel distributor or on UKIFDA’s website.”
“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,” added Guy.