Dairy Saves Money With Dual-Fuel Propane Engine

One year after Maddox Dairy in Menifee, Calif. installed two propane-diesel retrofit systems to its groundwater irrigation pump engines, the dairy is seeing record fuel savings and reduced exhaust emissions. Steve Maddox, a third-generation dairyman and managing partner of Maddox Dairy, installed two dual-fuel retrofit systems developed by California Clean Air Technologies in 2012 to reduce fuel costs and diesel exhaust emissions as part of the dairy’s sustainability initiative.

The converted engines run on 50% propane and 50% diesel, and have enabled Maddox Dairy to cut its diesel consumption in half and its fuel costs by 25%. During the high-usage months of May and June, Maddox Dairy saved $3400 to $4000 a month in fuel costs. “Any time we can displace a gallon of diesel, it’s a good thing,” said Maddox. “Last year we were going through a tank of diesel every 14 days, and now we’re going through a tank every 25 days and we’re using the pump more this year, so it’s working.” Maddox Dairy recently co-hosted a demon­stration of the system, installed on a QSX15 irrigation pump engine, with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC).

California Clean Air Technologies’ ret­rofit system is believed to be the first and only off-road dual-fuel system to meet the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) stringent exhaust gas emission reduc­tion requirements for oxides of nitrogen, carbon diox­ide, particulate matter, and hydrocarbons. The system is also the first to achieve CARB’s off-road alternative fuel certification. CARB certification is accepted by the Environmental Protection Agency for off-road applica­tions nationwide.

Michael Avery, CEO of California Clean Air Technologies, said the reduction of toxic diesel emissions has a direct impact on California producers’ bottom lines. “With the CARB certification, operators using the dual-fuel system are granted more hours to power their equipment, while staying within the emissions guidelines of their local air districts. For producers like Maddox, which operates longer during hot weather, the extra hours are essential.” PERC supported the develop­ment and testing of the system as part of its effort to offer farmers new technologies that increase productiv­ity, save money, and reduce emissions. The system can be installed on existing Tier I, II, and III diesel engines.