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Biodiesel field trip

Sue and I ventured out of the office on a field trip last week. We visited Down to Earth Energy, LLC, a biodiesel research lab and batch continuous production facility in Monroe, Georgia, USA. Co-founders McKay & Tyson Johnson and Rick Huszagh were all amazing and taught us so much about the production and benefits of biodiesel. For those of you who just glazed over when I mentioned the word “biodiesel” and still don’t know what it is:
“Biodiesel is a clean burning fuel produced from agricultural resources such as vegetable oils (e.g., soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, recycled cooking oils & animal fats). The base oil is put through a simple refining process using an industrial alcohol (ethanol or methanol) and a catalyst to convert the oil into biodiesel. Biodiesel in its pure form is known as B100, but it can also be blended with petroleum-based diesel at any level. Common blends include B5 (5% biodiesel and 95% diesel) and B20 (20% biodiesel and 80% diesel). Biodiesel is registered with the U.S. Environmental Production Agency (EPA) and is legal for use at any blend level on both highway and non-road diesel vehicles.

Biodiesel is the smart fuel solution for our economy, the environment, and our customers (commercial and municipal fleet managers, farm operators, and consumers). Because it is made from renewable, domestic resources, the use of biodiesel decreases our dependence on foreign oil and supports our U.S. economy. Biodiesel has lower emissions compared to petroleum diesel, is less toxic than table salt, and biodegrades as quickly as sugar, making it a smart solution for our environment. ” Source: Down to Earth Energy – Biodiesel Benefits

The facility is very unique. It is mostly outdoors and runs off of energy accumulated through the use of solar panels and a biodiesel generator. Local residents and farmers, as well as fleet vehicles, can come and fill up with B20, B99, or B100 biodiesel. In fact, the first local farmer to come fill up his tractor at Down to Earth was William Chapman, a local hobby farmer who drives a vintage Massey Ferguson 240.

Learn more about Down to Earth Energy and their foundation by visiting their website and watching the videos that we took while on location. You can also see more photos on our Facebook fan page.

Fun fact: All AGCO SISU POWER engines are compatible to run on B100 biodiesel. Different engine manufacturers will have different recommendations for their engines, so check your operator’s manual.

Do you run biodiesel in your tractor? What are you waiting for?

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