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Diesel Substitution - A Case Study

Supplier: Elgas Limited
06 February, 2008

Mark Pye is Managing Director of Parilla Premium Potatoes based in Parilla, South Australia. Established in 1990, the company produces 55,000 tonnes of potatoes, onions and carrots a year to supply both fresh and processing markets in Australia and overseas.

The crops are produced using centre pivot irrigation. A total of 30 diesel fuelled irrigation pumps are used throughout the company’s 5,000-hectare farm. Given the enormity of production, the company uses up to 2.5 million litres of diesel a year.


Mark is constantly looking at ways to save on costs and improve the company bottom-line. Based on current prices, the company would spend up to $2 million a year on diesel. He wanted to explore potential savings in this area.He first heard about LPG conversion from one of his colleagues in the company.


Mark consulted with representatives of Diesel/Gas Australia based in Adelaide and opted for a diesel substitution system. Diesel/Gas Australia had developed a system that could replace diesel with LPG for up to 30%. Mark and Diesel/Gas Australia agreed to do a trial on one engine, a 260 horsepower Caterpillar type 3306.

The company spent around $8,000 for the cost and installation of the kit. The local Elgas branch in Adelaide was chosen as the LPG partner to supply bulk LPG through a 5,100-litre bulk tank located on-site.


The trial was conducted for the first 1,500 hours of engine use with the diesel substitution kit installed. Diesel consumption was reduced by up to 28%. Net savings for the first 1,500 hours of trial was $5,550, a reduction of 12%.

Based on a yearly engine usage of 3,500 hours, the company stands to gain up to $12,950 in savings per year for just one engine. The company stands to recover its investment within a year.

Next Steps

Given the success of the trial, Mark is already working with Diesel/Gas Australia and Elgas to convert 3 more engines by next year.

Contact Person For further inquiries, please ring John Burnell on 0401 987 783.