Oilseeds are expeller pressed using commercially-available equipment that is rated on a ton-per-hour basis. Oil and meal are extracted from the cleaned seeds under pressure. The oil runs off of the press into settling tanks before it is made into biodiesel, or it can be filtered or further refined for food-grade oil. The meal is used as animal feed or a fertilizer treatment.
Through a process called transesterification, the oil is converted to methyl esters with the addition of an alcohol and catalyst, producing biodiesel and glycerol. Final steps remove the glycerol, leaving biodiesel that’s ready for use as a tractor fuel or for heating buildings.
The profiles, publications, and links to the right and image gallery below provide more information on extracting oil from oilseeds and making biodiesel.
University of Vermont, Press Evaluations (Performance Comparison of Six Commercial Presses)
Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, Oilseed Processing Flowchart.
University of Vermont Poster Presentation, Small Scale Processing of Locally Produced Edible Oils
Al Kurki et al, Oilseed Processing For Small-Scale Producers. 2008.
Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, Oilseed Processing Flowchart. 2008.
Gary Brester et al, Growing a Career on a Small Family Farm: Supplying Biodiesel Producers in Montana’s Flathead Valley.November 2008.
Penn State Extension, Using Biodiesel Fuel in Your Engine. 2013.
National Renewable Energy Lab, Biodiesel Handling and Use Guidebook.January 2009.
Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Biodiesel Safety and Best Management Practices for Small-Scale Noncommercial Use and Production. 2008.
National Renewable Energy Lab, Biodiesel Production Technology. July 2004.
Waste Management and Research Center,Feasibility Report Small Scale Biodiesel Production.
Chris Callahan, Oilseed Cost and Profit Calculator. (A downloadable modeling tool)
Chris Callahan and Netaka White, Vermont On-Farm Oilseed Enterprises: Production Capacity and Break-even Economics. July 2013.
Emily Stebbins, The Market Potential of Farm-Scale Oilseed Crop Products in Vermont. February 2008. (See also the Executive Summary)
Seed and Meal Analysis
Gary Cromwell, Soybean Meal: The Gold Standard.November 1999.
Meal Data for Conservation and Innovation Grant | Report to Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, 2006
Oilseed Meal Analysis – nutritional | University of Vermont Ag testing Lab
Oilseed Meal Results – NPK | Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund
Sunflower Meal Analysis (from cleaned seed) | Dairy One Lab / Using Kern Kraft Oil Press
Sunflower Meal Analysis (from un-cleaned seed) | Dairy One Lab / Using Kern Kraft Oil Press
Sunflower Seed Analysis | Rock River Lab
Sunflower Meal Analysis | Rock River Lab / Using Kern Kraft Oil Press
Sunflower Seed Analysis | Prior To Milling In Kern Kraft Oil Press
Sunflower Seed Analysis | Using Kern Kraft Oil Press
Biofuel Factsheets, Projects and Resources, Penn State
Biofuel Basics, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Presses and Equipment
Small-scale Oilseed Presses (Video), University of Vermont
Oilseed Equipment Suppliers
Kern Kraft Oil Press (Germany), Circle Energy
Taby Oil Press (Sweden)
Oil Press (formerly AgOil Press, United States)
Komet Oil Press (Germany)
Gemco Oil Press (China)
Oil Presses, Turner Biodiesel
Oil Presses, National Center for Appropriate Technology
Conferences and Events
Oilseed Producers Workshop Proceedings, University of Vermont