As we head into spring you are sure to recognize more outdoor appliances running on propane-your grill, lawn mowers, patio heaters, and mosquito traps to name a few. But you may not realize this piece of equipment can run on propane too.
What is it? This large wind fan is actually an orchard fan, powered by propane, which helps to keep the orchard trees from being damaged by spring freezes. These large fans, which can stand over 30 feet tall, redirect warmer air toward orchard trees preventing widespread damage to the crops.
How do they work? Warm air tends to rise as the temperature drops at night. The propane-powered fans pull the warm air in as it rises and push it back down to the ground. This push of warmer air can raise the temperature around the trees up to 3-5 degrees. This increase in temperature, although small, is usually enough to prevent the blossoms on the orchard trees from bursting and destroying the chance for a crop.
These fans are just one option for heating orchards. Other options include ground-level orchard heaters which are placed throughout or near the rows of crop. Propane provides an environmentally friendly way to protect crops from freezing. Propane is a clean fuel as listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act. Using propane instead of other fuels reduces the carbon dioxide and other air pollutants making propane the clean, green choice.