There are many factors to consider when thinking about how to fuel your machinery and when to switch. But the biggest issue, certainly at the moment, is price.

IT’S no wonder fuel is increasingly on people’s minds. For forestry workers and business owners it is an unavoidable expense and one that lately only seems to be rising.

Companies are feeling the pressure to reduce their own costs while also reducing emissions – two goals that often seem at odds with each other, with more environmentally friendly options often prohibitively expensive (as well as often impractical for the sector).

The good news is that advancements are being made all the time which stand to make the latest innovations more accessible.

In Southampton last month, the UK’s first hydrogen power generator was made available for purchase and hire. Designed to operate on any grade of hydrogen, the 45 kVA H2ICE from Commercial Fuel Solutions marks a significant advancement in hydrogen power technology, offering a cost-effective, eco-friendly, and high-performance solution, potentially a sign of things to come.

At the same time, over in the USA, the new first-of-its-kind BioCharger from Air Burners has been launched. A collaborative effort between Volvo CE, Rolls-Royce, and Air Burners, the BioCharger uses ‘air curtain technology’ to burn wood and waste in a closed-loop system. The resulting heat is converted into electric energy and stored in a connected battery storage module. That energy can then be used to charge battery-electric vehicles, equipment and power tools throughout the job site – even in the middle of the forest.

For the majority of people across the sector, such investments, for the moment, are well out of reach. But they still have options.
With the increasing costs of petrol across the world and pressures on forestry professionals to use more environmentally friendly fuels, demand for alkylate fuels is growing across the market. 

Currently, the aspirational choice for hand cutters is Aspen. Being free from ethanol and most of the other hazardous hydrocarbons traditionally found in unleaded petrol from the pump, Aspen alkylate fuel burns cleaner, reducing the negative impact on the operator, machinery and surrounding environment. 

The professional sector is Aspen’s biggest growing market, tied to the increasing value companies put on staff health and a renewed emphasis on lowering the amount of harmful emissions that they produce during their operations.

If anything is likely to put operators off using Aspen it is the price, which like many other products has recently seen a surge as a result of market forces. However, there are savings to be made with the bulk delivery of Aspen to site. When adding up the savings from fewer servicing bills and the convenience angle, it is often revealed to be a commercially sensible choice.

That said, Aspen is not the only company out there focused on developing cleaner fuels. Stihl MotoMix continues to grow in popularity because it is cleaner burning than standard fuel, is ethanol-free and contains almost no olefins or aromatic components. The formula is patented and premixed with a 50:1 ratio, meaning there is no risk of adding too little oil, which can cause damage to essential tools. MotoMix uses Stihl’s HP ultra-premium oil for exceptional engine lubrication and cleanliness to add to its multiple user-friendly properties. 

Forestry Journal: The BioCharger is currently in a pilot testing phase across North America The BioCharger is currently in a pilot testing phase across North America (Image: Supplied)

Eco-conscious re-mixed fuels are also a developing focus for chainsaw manufacturer Husqvarna, which has been predicting interest to rise amongst professionals in the coming years. Its own offering for its pro chainsaws is XP Power 2, a pre-mixed alkylate petrol with two per cent of Husqvarna XP synthetic two-stroke oil, providing efficient combustion and leaving a cleaner, cooler, healthier engine with minimal harmful substances in the emissions. Its use is also said to prevent inner corrosion, makes starting easier, minimises downtime and reduces the need for service. 

Gaining traction as an affordable alternative is Gulf Pro 2T, a ready-mixed blend of ultra-pure alkylate petrol with a high-quality, biodegradable, two-stroke oil at a 50:1 ratio. It ensures exceptional engine cleanliness, minimal emissions, optimum lubrication at all temperatures, and a long storage life. It is also compatible with Husqvarna’s oil guard system.

Whichever fuel you use and however you use it, it’s worth giving the subject some consideration.