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Store fuel in dike, under roof

Cost savings are possible for fuel if you’re flexible on when you buy, and how much you can buy at once. That was just one of the factors that convinced Bryan Kirkpatrick, Greentown, that an on-farm dike and storage center made sense.

“The way to pay for it is to be careful about when you buy,” he says. Because his storage system can hold several semitankers of fuel, he gains flexibility on when he can buy. Purchasing in quantity and timing the buy correctly are big keys to lowering input costs for fuel.

Kirkpatrick’s dike for fuel storage contains 15,000- and 10,000-gallon tanks, plus smaller tanks for other types of fuel. He purchased the used tanks at a reasonable price.

Key Points

• Use of a fuel dike eases concerns about liability.

• A roof over the dike goes the extra step toward avoiding contamination.

• This farmer insists on keeping E85 supply in his fuel center.

Liability issue

The ability to store large amounts of fuel and buy in a timely fashion weren’t the only reasons Kirkpatrick opted to build a fuel dike. Having seen regulators in action in a real-life incident, he knew they mean business. And he wanted no part of contributing to a spill into a creek or other nearby waterway.

Andrew King, a local contractor, did the concrete work on the 50-by-50-foot dike. Originally, it was an open dike. But after he saw rainwater collect inside it, Kirkpatrick decided it made more sense to add a roof to keep most of the water out in the first place.

“We’re really glad we added the roof,” he says. “Now we don’t have to deal with all that water.”

The building is not completely enclosed. For safety purposes, Kirkpatrick decided to leave a section open all the way around the building. That provides adequate ventilation for the facility, he notes.

He matched the height of the building to the size of his tanks, making sure there was adequate head space. The building is large enough to allow for expansion.

Farmer pushes E85 ethanol use despite the cost

The bright yellow tank stands out when you tour Bryan Kirkpatrick’s fuel center. The label clearly marks it as E85 ethanol fuel.

“We’re going to have an E85 tank in the dike and use E85 even if it costs more,” says Kirkpatrick, Greentown. “We run it in everything we can, including every pickup that can use it.”

Why push E85 ethanol? “We want to support our industry,” Kirkpatrick insists. “Since it’s made from corn, it only makes sense to use it ourselves.”

The fuel tanks in Kirkpatrick’s fuel center are color-coded. It helps Kirkpatrick and his employees distinguish one type of fuel from another. Surveillance cameras provide security for the fuel center.


SUPPORT CORN: Any vehicle that can burn E85 ethanol gets fuel from this tank in Bryan Kirkpatrick’s storage dike.


UNDER ROOF: Fuel is stored inside a dike on Bryan Kirkpatrick’s farm. He added a roof over the facility to reduce the amount of water that collected inside.

This article published in the March, 2010 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.