New Agricultural Technologies Fueled by Propane To Help Farmers Meet Environmental and Energy Efficiency Demands

February 12, 2001

Tulare, - CA With the growing demand for states to meet and exceed environmental and energy efficiency standards, the propane industry is providing the farming industry with access to new agricultural technologies fueled by propane that will enable farmers to operate environmentally friendly and energy efficient farming equipment. The Western Propane Gas Association (WPGA) with support from the Propane Education & Research Council (the Council) will be working with approximately 20 manufacturers and propane marketers in showcasing new agricultural technologies at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA, February 13 - 15, 2001.

More than 600,000 American farms rely on propane to run generators, power irrigation systems, heat brooding houses, control weeds and dry crops. The propane industry is partnering with the agriculture community to make the future even more productive. 'The propane industry is investing millions in the development of new technologies to give farmers the tools they need to get their jobs done in a clean, efficient, reliable way,' says WPGA Executive Vice President Mary Reynolds. 'It's nice to know that farmers have one less thing to worry about when they count on propane to fuel their farms.


Jasper 460 Water Pump Engine

Among the new agricultural technologies on display at this year's World Ag Expo is the Jasper 460 LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) engine with TermiNOxTM-DGC, a three-way closed-loop emissions control system. This industrial V8 engine, expected to be California Air Resources Board (CARB)-certified in February of this year, is the first unit of its kind developed to run solely on propane fuel. The propane-powered Jasper engine was primarily developed for use in off-road agricultural applications such as pumping ground water and deep water wells, flood and drip irrigation, frost protection for crops, powering a generator as well as pick-up trucks for welding.

According to the developers of the newly designed unit Jasper Alternate Fuels and Engine Control Systems, the propane-powered engine burns 60 percent cleaner than its diesel counterpart. The Jasper engine also produces less than 0.5 g/bhp-hr of NOx emissions, or oxides of nitrogen, compared to the cleanest diesel engine currently on the market, which produces 6.9 g/bhp-hr of NOx emissions. Jasper Alternate Fuels also says that this new engine will reduce fuel consumption by approximately 20 percent, and that it will provide operational benefits over diesel and electric motors.

"This is a cleaner technology that will allow farmers to eliminate fuel spillage as well as soil contamination," said Calvin Thorn, engineer and lead developer of the Jasper 460 engine at Jasper Engine Company in Jasper, IN.


Atarus Stinger (Thermal Weed Control System)

Another agricultural innovation making its first appearance at the World Ag Expo is the Atarus Stinger, a thermal weed control system developed and currently used primarily in wine vineyards throughout South Australia. The thermal weed control system runs on a process known as steam-quenched combustion, which uses a generator to convert combusting fuel such as propane and water into a high velocity, high temperature steam used to kill crop weeds.

According to Ian Johnstone, business development manager for Origin Energy in Australia, propane fuel was chosen as the combustible fuel used in this weed control system because of its low emissions and burning temperature. "This propane-powered thermal weed control system is a breakthrough in heat transfer. We prefer propane for this application because it is a clean burning fuel that doesn't contaminate the soil, is extremely portable, and allows for low maintenance of the equipment because it produces less carbon build-up," said Johnstone.

The Atarus Stinger will be made available to the farming industry within the state of California this year.

"Through research and development (R&D) efforts, the propane industry is helping the farming community find new ways to improve agricultural applications," said Mary Reynolds. Propane provides farmers with a clean, efficient and reliable fuel source," added Reynolds.

As a part of the outreach efforts, WPGA will be giving demonstrations on the Atarus Stinger thermal weed control system at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA. On Wednesday, February 14 at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM and Thursday, February 15 at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM, visitors can see how the thermal weed control system works, and the clean manner in which it rids fields of unwanted weeds. Additionally, an exhibit (Booth SG6, located on South Green Belt, near Pavilion D) sponsored by WPGA will feature other pieces of propane-fueled equipment such as a microturbine, crop flamer, heaters, dryers, ranges, grills, fireplaces and tanks. *See attached full listing of agricultural equipment being displayed at the World Ag Expo.

The Western Propane Gas Association (WPGA) is the regional trade association for the propane gas industry. With a membership of more than 200 companies in California and affiliated states, WPGA represents every segment of the propane industry. The Association's primary focus continues to be education, training and regulatory compliance. The Western Propane Gas Association is affiliated with the National Propane Gas Association in a combined effort to promote the safe and increased use of propane, to work for a favorable environment for production, distribution and marketing, and to serve as the principal voice of the propane industry. For more information about WPGA, please call 916-447-9742 or visit the Web site at

The Propane Education & Research Council (the Council) was authorized by the U.S. Congress with the passage of the Public Law 104-284, the Propane Education and Research Act (PERA), signed into law on October 11, 1996. The mission of the Propane Education & Research Council is to promote the safe, efficient use of odorized propane gas as a preferred energy source. For more information about the Propane Council, please call 202-452-8975 or visit the Web site at