LPG enjoys a long-standing reputation as a reliable and cost effective fuel choice for agriculture. Beyond that, it’s also a clean and efficient choice as well. Any farm operation – whether organic or traditional – can benefit from the ecological advantages of propane.
Why Propane Is a Green Fuel Choice
Propane is a greener fuel choice for agriculture in many ways because it is:
- burnable without leaving any residue
- insoluble in water
- lead-free with a low sulfur content, so it does not lead to acid rain
- lower in greenhouse gas emissions than many other fuels
LPG is relatively clean-burning due to its low carbon content. In fact, the government approved propane as a clean fuel in the 1990 Clean Air Act because it contributes less carbon dioxide and other air pollutants than other fuels. If you compare emissions from propane-powered equipment with emissions from conventional energy sources such as gasoline and diesel, propane-powered equipment emits 20% less greenhouse gas than gasoline-powered, and 11% less than diesel. Using LPG to replace conventional fuels could significantly reduce harmful emissions.
For organic farmers in particular, propane also has an advantage over gas and diesel because it vaporizes into the atmosphere if spilled, rather than causing soil contamination. The contamination plan required for gas and diesel is not necessary with propane.
How Farms Are Becoming Greener with LPG
To protect the environment as well as crops and livestock, more and more farmers are adopting propane powered equipment. Below are just a few examples of how farms that convert to propane can become greener:
- Cleaning: Propane provides the hot water required to clean and sanitize agriculture buildings and processing facilities such as dairy and poultry facilities. And propane-powered water heaters emit 36-39% fewer greenhouse gases than electric water heaters. In addition, propane-powered flame sanitizers use extreme heat to kill spores, worm eggs, fungi and viruses, and to burn off toxic ammonia vapors for a healthier flock in poultry barns. Using heat allows poultry producers to destroy pathogens without toxic acids and chemical disinfectants.
- Irrigation: Propane irrigation engines emit 11% fewer greenhouse gases than diesel-powered systems.
- Frost Protection: Equipment for heating crops, orchards, and vineyards with propane is not only portable but safer for the environment compared to other fuel sources.
- Fumigation and Weed Control: Propane-fueled heat, flame, and steam provide a more natural alternative to methyl bromide, a chemical fumigant that depletes ozone and is being phased out by the EPA. Organic growers are turning to propane powered flame tillers to safely eliminate weeds, and to eliminate the need for pesticides and herbicides.
- Disposal: Propane incineration provides a more bio-secure and environmentally responsible means of disposing of animal and other waste products.
Farms that use progressive technology like propane powered equipment can help the environment by controlling fuel emissions. Beyond that, there are opportunities to control harmful insects and weeds without the use of chemicals, and to protect the soil from toxic fuel spills. Contact Smith Gas Liquids Company to make sure you have green propane at all times to meet the needs of your farming operation.