New biodiesel-approved, off-road vehicle available

By | October 13, 2006
Farmers now have more options-in addition to tractors and other various implements-in which to use biodiesel. Arctic Cat has just completed development of a twin-cylinder, diesel all-terrain vehicle (ATV), the first on the market. Popular on farms, these ATVs-in which Arctic Cat is encouraging the use of biodiesel blends-were being manufactured starting in September.

The Arctic Cat ATV comes with a fuel tag that recommends biodiesel use of up to B20. This project marked the first time B20 had been commercially promoted in small diesel engines. The research was sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSR&PC), the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute's Center for Producer-Owned Energy and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. B2 is now standard in Minnesota.

"We're extremely pleased with the positive results of this biodiesel project, and we commend Arctic Cat for its support of this amazing fuel and its environmental benefits," said Scott Singlestad, chairman of the MSR&PC Domestic Marketing Committee and soybean farmer from Waseca, Minn. MSR&PC is a National Biodiesel Board (NBB) member.

Arctic Cat was very impressed with B20, said Ole Tweet, vice president of new product development, and it offers a good selling point to farmers. "It says to them, 'Here's a vehicle for you that runs on the very stuff you grow.' That's a tremendous attribute," Tweet said. "Further, we're trying to reduce the impact of our ATVs on the environment, and we like the idea of making an ATV that could run on renewable fuel grown by farmers, some of our best customers."

Arctic Cat rigorously tested Lombardini diesel-engine ATVs on emissions, sound levels, hot-start capability at air temperatures of 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and normal-life engine durability tests, which simulate five years of consumer use. The tests included winter use with a No. 1 winter blend, as well.

There were no differences in engine or component wear, and no degradation of the fuel system with B20, Tweet said. "What is significant about the test results is that there was nothing very significant," Tweet said. "Arctic Cat was very pleased with the performance of biodiesel fuel."

Of course, ATVs are not just for farmers, nor are farmers the only ones using biodiesel. Volkswagen owners and school bus drivers, among others, are increasingly using various blends of biodiesel. Another ATV user is the U.S. military, which also uses biodiesel at many bases across the country. In fact, the military is the largest user of biodiesel in the United States.

The 686 cubic-centimeter twin cylinder, single-overhead-cam four-stroke diesel engine provides 30 percent greater fuel mileage and extra low-end torque compared with a conventional gasoline engine. The engine runs efficiently on six forms of diesel fuel, including B20, with a glow-plug pre-heater assist for starting.

Arctic Cat,, based in Thief River Falls, Minn., makes snowmobiles and ATVs worldwide. The NBB assisted Arctic Cat to promote the B20 compatibility of its new ATV.
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