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Volume 3, Issue 6

feature: Oil extraction options
Oil mill technology is well established, with an increasing number of farmers considering seed oil expulsion for biofuel production, if the market becomes sufficiently lucrative. The majority of oil pressing is carried out by big players in the food oil and biofuel arena like Cargill, ADM, Bunge and others. Rapeseed oil initially contains about 40% oil and the biodiesel aim is to reduce residual oil in the cake to about 1%. The first stage pressing takes the cake to about 22% residual oil. The second step uses solvent extraction to take the cake down to 1% residual oil. There are three processes for oil extraction: cold press, hot press and pre-press. Cold presses are used for premium food-grade oils typically, and the seed is not heated before it enters the hopper. Cold pressed oil can also be used straight in modified diesel engines. Cold pressing is a simple process and the oil is suitable for making biodiesel. However, cold pressing leaves around 13% oil in the cake, so the cake is often re-pressed. The oil cake is then milled and bagged for used as animal feed. During hot pressing, the seed is heated before it enters the hopper, causing cell rupture, reducing the oil viscosity and increasing the capacity of the press and also the yield. In most presses, the seed is heated to about 100?C, doubling the throughput of the press. Hot pressed oil is fine for biodiesel production and processes more seed processed than single pass cold pressing. However, heating increases gum and phosphorus content, so the oil is unsuitable for culinary use, and also needs further treatment for use in engines, using solvent extraction. There is a wide range of cold and hot press oil expeller manufacturers. Leading suppliers include De Smet Rosedowns, La Mecanique Moderne, Machinenfabriek Reinartz, KEK and Karl Strahle, as well as Chinese (Anyang General, Goyum Screw Press), and Indian manufacturers, like Kanika. Though the price of Chinese and Indian presses may be significantly lower, experienced biofuel suppliers prefer to opt for the European options as they tend to more rugged, reliable and require less maintenance and potential downtime.


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