Agricultural Uses for Propane
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should a farmer care that propane-powered farm equipment produces fewer emissions?
Today, more than ever, sustainability and environmentally friendly practices influence decisions that affect an operation. Propane is a clean-burning fuel that meets Tier 4 regulations outlined in the Clean Air Act without compromising the performance farmers need.
What types of farm equipment can run on propane?
Propane can satisfy most major energy uses: irrigation engines, grain dryers,
standby generators, building and water heating, flame weed control, vehicles,
mowers, and forklifts.
How does the cost of equipment powered by propane compare with equipment
powered by other fuels?
Propane-powered equipment is competitively priced with other equipment for
products like grain dryers and heaters for animals, greenhouses, or water.
Propane irrigation engines typically cost less than comparable diesel engines.
What incentives are available?
Sponsored by PERC, the Propane Farm Incentive Program is a research program that provides a financial incentive toward the purchase of new propane-powered farm equipment like irrigation engines and grain dryers. In exchange, participants agree to share real-world performance data with PERC. Other programs offered through national, state, and local organizations help farmers experience the benefits of propane technology while helping off set the initial costs of propane equipment. Please visit our Rebates & Incentives page for additional information.
Are propane-powered engines as durable as diesel engines?
The biggest factors that contribute to long engine life are properly sizing, loading, and maintaining the engine. Regular maintenance intervals and cost per interval differ between propane and diesel, but overall costs are projected to be equal or slightly in favor of propane-powered engines. And with propane units costing less to purchase than comparable horsepower diesel engines, the advantages are clear. A propane engine is certified for a 5,000-hour emission life. Some have reported engine life as high as 15,000 to 20,000 hours for properly sized, operated, and maintained propane-powered engines.
What horsepower or sizes of propane-powered irrigation
engines are available?
Most new propane-powered engines today are based on gaseous fuel prepped gasoline
engine blocks. Several models are available from industrial engine suppliers, ranging from
4 cylinder models up to 8 and 10 cylinder models. PERC has partnered to develop several
new models in large sizes such as 6.8, 8.0, 8.8, 9.1, and 10.3-liters of displacement, while
there are propane-powered engines available up to a 22-liter engine and roughly 300
horsepower. There is a broad spectrum of engine sizes available to meet an operation’s needs.
How much propane does a propane-powered engine consume?
Less than you’d think. New propane-powered engines are more efficient than those produced
decades ago. PERC has conducted multiple studies comparing propane engines side by side
with diesel counterparts to monitor fuel consumption for conducting similar work. The
research found that propane outperformed diesel on a per-dollar basis.
What are the advantages of using propane?
First and foremost, propane is a cost-effective solution for farming operations. This is especially true in the summer, when propane typically reaches its lowest price per gallon and diesel is at its highest. Propane is also more environmentally friendly than other fuels. Engines powered by propane emit fewer greenhouse gases than gasoline or diesel engines. As an American-made fuel, propane supplies are readily available, making it a reliable fuel for farming operations. And with regular maintenance and proper use, propane-powered equipment can last for decades. The storability of propane adds to its reliability. Properly stored propane will last indefinitely and not deteriorate over time or cause potential waste and pollution like other fuels.
Are propane storage tanks safe?
A propane tank is 20 times as puncture resistant as a typical gasoline, methanol, or ethanol tank. And when properly maintained, they can last up to 40 years or more.