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Biofuel-laced diesel is rejected by contractors

Farmers and agricultural contractors are being advised not to accept deliveries of green diesel that contain unnecessary biofuel.

The Professional Agricultural Contractors (PAC) of Ireland has urged farmers to reject deliveries containing biofuel after it emerged that fuel companies may have breached European regulations.

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has confirmed that there is no requirement to add biofuel to Low Sulphur Diesel (LSD) for use in agricultural machinery tractors.

Department officials also confirmed that oil companies who delivered LSD containing biofuel to farmers and contractors for agricultural use, without informing them that the fuel was contained in it, were breaching EU regulations.

The rules state: "If the gas oil does contain biofuel, the distributor must advise the consumer of this and provide appropriate information on the biofuel content."

Independent tests commissioned by the IFA recently found that all 29 samples of 'green' farm diesel from across the country contained biofuel at rates of up to 7pc.

Despite this, Environment officials said: "Oil suppliers have advised the Department that the vast majority of low sulphur gas oil marketed in Ireland does not contain biofuel."

However, officials added that low sulphur gas oil was only likely to contain biofuel if 'road diesel' -- which is already refined to the low sulphur specification -- is being sold as a substitute product for low sulphur gas oil. Road diesel may contain up to 7pc biofuel.

PAC director Tom Murphy said: "Contrary to the view held by the Department, the constituent change in green diesel has been creating havoc for our members, with clogged up systems, and we have been inundated with complaints.

"It now appears that the biofuel should not have been added to the farm diesel, and if so the customer should have been given specific information at the point of delivery.

"Unless the oil supplier can prove that requirement was complied with, farmers and contractors who have had major problems have a strong case against their oil supplier, who breached the regulations."

Mr Murphy said PAC was strongly advising all contractors and farmers not to accept LSD containing biofuel for agricultural use and to get assurance in writing from their oil supplier.

"It is clear that biofuel should never have been included and it could have saved a lot of trouble and cost to our members and farmers in recent weeks," he said.

The reduction of sulphur content in green diesel from 1,000 parts per million (ppm) to 10ppm is an EU regulation requirement, and use of the higher sulphur diesel in farm equipment is liable, on conviction, to a maximum penalty of €5,000 or three months imprisonment, or both.

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