Grow Your Own Fuel: Biofuels and Sustainable Agriculture. Spring 2005

Grow Your Own Fuel: Biofuels and Sustainable Agriculture Spring 2005 Early models of Biofueled vehicles Biofuel as Solar Energy • Biofuel, is chem...
Author: Jonas Horn
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Grow Your Own Fuel: Biofuels and Sustainable Agriculture Spring 2005

Early models of Biofueled vehicles

Biofuel as Solar Energy • Biofuel, is chemical energy made from water, CO2, & solar energy • Plants use sunlight or the process of photosynthesis to make carbohydrates, oils,etc • These oils can be converted to fuel • Average photosynthetically available solar energy = 25,000 terawatts • This is 2,250 times global energy consumption • We need a crop to efficient convert this solar energy (terawatt = 1,000GW Giga then mega then kilo)

How much fuel do we need? • 1999: U.S. Biodiesel production 500,000 gallons • 2003: over 30 million gallons • Current U.S. Diesel Fuel Market: 60 Billion gallons • Current U.S.Soy oil production: approx 2 Billion gallons • Current Diesel market is 2,000 times the current Biodiesel production

Current Vegetable Oil Production Table 1.  Total Annual Production of US Fats and Oils.   [from Pearl, G.G., "Animal Fat Potential for Bioenergy Use," Bioenergy 2002, The Tenth Biennial Bioenergy Conference, Boise, ID, Sept. 22-26, 2002.]  

Vegetable Oil Production (Billion pounds/yr) Soybean 18.340 Peanuts 0.220 Sunflower 1.000 Cottonseed 1.010 Corn 2.420 Others 0.669 Total Veg. Oil 23.659

Total Annual Production of US Fats and Oils Animal Fats (Billion pounds/yr) Edible Tallow 1.625 Inedible tallow 3.859 Lard & Grease 1.306 Yellow Grease 2.633 Poultry Fat 2.215 Total Animal Fat 11.638

Maximum Biodiesel Production • Combined total: 23.659 + 11.638 = 35.3 • 35.3 billion lbs of fats and oils could produce about 4.6 billion gallons of biodiesel.

Sales of On-highway diesel fuel 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 •

On-highway Diesel (billion gallons) 26.96 28.61 30.15 32.06 33.13 33,215,320 34,308,885 37,103,563

If all of the vegetable oil and animal fat were used to produce biodiesel, we could only replace about 15% of the current demand for on-highway diesel fuel.

Table 2.  Sales of On-highway diesel fuel  [Energy Information Administration,]  

But we don’t have enough land to grow fuel and feed people….

Food or Fuel? • •

• • • • • •

A common objection to biomass energy production… In the US, roughly 450 million acres of land is used for growing crops, with the majority of that actually being used for producing animal feed for the meat industry. Another 580 million acres is used for grassland pasture and range, according to the USDA's Economic Research Service. This accounts for nearly half of the 2.3 billion acres within the US (only 3% of which, or 66 million acres, is categorized as urban land). oversimplification of a complex issue. Analysis of real food situation of food supply and demand via region There are food surpluses in many industrialized and a number of developing countries Analyze a region’s use of food as animal feed, the under-utilized agricultural production potential, the increased potential for agricultural productivity, and the advantages and disadvantages of producing biofuels.

There is no food shortage The world already grows more than enough food to feed everyone • Inequitable economic system, not scarcity & overpopulation. • Myth - most of the food is grown in the rich countries. • The US = the world's biggest-ever food IMPORTER. • "US exports of corn and other grains for human food to reduce malnutrition and starvation" is another myth. • Most US grain exports go to feed livestock, not humans. Much of it is also used as feedstock for industry. • It can also undercut local food production, leading to less local food security, not more.

Have your Cake & eat it too… •

With most biofuels you remove the energy and are still left with the food -- or "feed" more often (for livestock). • Ethanol the feed value is enhanced: distillers dried grains by-product is more nutritious than the original unprocessed grain (because of the yeast). • With biodiesel you're left with the oilseed cake after the oil has been pressed out -- it can be a nutritious, high-protein livestock feed. • Local production of biofuels can cut dependence and cash expenditure on imported fuels, increase community self-reliance, and provide a spur for local job creation and growth. • It can also cut dependence on fuel wood, which is often scarce and causes immense health problems through indoor air-pollution. • growing biofuels crops can encourage food-crop production rather than reducing it.

What are the options for oilseed production in the U.S.? Are there alternative feedstocks available? What about sustainable production? Who is doing the research?

Most Common Oil-Producing Crops • • • • • • • • • •

Oil Palm = 4,585 lb. oil/ acre 635 gallons/acre Coconut = 2,070 lb. oil/ acre 287 gallons/acre Jatropha = 1,460 lb. oil/ acre 207 gallons/acre Rapeseed/Canola = 915 lb. oil/ acre 127 gal./acre Peanut = 815 lb. oil/ acre 113 gallons/acre Sunflower = 720 lb. oil/ acre 102 gallons/acre Safflower = 605 lb. oil/ acre 83 gallons/acre Soybean = 345 lb. oil/ acre 48 gallons/acre Hemp = 280 lb. oil/ acre 39 gallons/acre Corn = 135 lb. oil/ acre 18 gallons/acre

Alternative crop: Algae • US DOE/NREL “Aquatic Species Program” • Started as means to use algaes for CO2 sequestering from coal plants • Transitioned to biodiesel production • DOE/NREL's research focused on the development of algae farms in desert regions, using shallow saltwater pools for growing the algae • Algae- higher yield per acre • ASP estimated algae potential yield at 1quadrillion (10 billion) Btu per 494,200 acres = • 15,000 gallons fuel/acre annually • Algae research could potentially provide a significant weaning from petroleum.

Algae Research • • • • • • • •


The UNH Biodiesel Group is working on improving the technology for growing algae on waste streams for biodiesel production. UNH has filed a provisional patent application and is seeking partners to develop the technology. wastewater treatment plants Algae =   photosynthetically efficient plants “algae farms could also be constructed to use waste streams (either human waste or animal waste from animal farms) as a food source,   Nutrients can also be extracted from the algae for the production of a fertilizer high in nitrogen and phosphorous. By using waste streams (agricultural, farm animal waste, and human sewage) as the nutrient source, these farms essentially also provide a means of recycling nutrients from fertilizer to food to waste and back to fertilizer.” They estimate algae production 5,000 to 20,000 gallons/acre/annually


Black Soldier Fly • • •

• • • •

Black Soldier Fly Biomass System:  Black Soldier Fly larvae consume fresh pig manure solids. This feeding bullks up their biomass, which may be used as a feedstuff for livestock feeds. Or they can be utilized as an oil feedstock Dried prepupae contain 42% protein and 35% fat. This feedstuff has favorable amino acid, fatty acid and mineral profiles. For the purposes of this evaluation, this project will be combined with the Gannet Fleming Belt System.   

IN Action & ON Farm • Steven Hobbs- family farm enterprise Australia (West Wimmera of Victoria) • Joseph Gabiou- Independence Valley Farm • Montana- Peaks and Prairies Growers Cooperative & Sustainable Systems,LLC • Univ. of Idaho- Mustard Seed Research for Biodiesel • Sunshine Farm at the Land Institute, Salina, KS • Inland Northwest Oilseed Forum, Airway Heights, Wa.

Biodiesel-Farming for the Future

Biodiesel on Farm • Biodiesel replaces diesel for diesel powered tractors, generators, & other equipment • Glycerol byproduct: feedstock for sheep & cows • Glycerol as hand cleaner & degreaser • Purified glycerol: moisturizers, soaps, cosmetics & other glycerine products • Glycerine can be fermented & ethanol producedwhich can make Biodiesel! • Potassium Hydroxide, water washes used for foliar feeding • Press cake: also addition to livestock feed

Independence Valley Farm • Rochester, Washington • Western SARE Producer Grant • “On Farm Biodiesel Production from Waste Vegetable Oil” •

During the 2000 season, the farm replaced 330 gallons of petroleum-based diesel fuel with biodiesel in their two tractors and market van

Beltsville Agricultural Research Center • Beltsville (Md.) Agricultural Research Center’s (BARC) • 6,000-acre Demonstration farm. The Beltsville farm equipment that will run on this biodiesel fuel includes: • 20 trucks ,13 tractors 1 forklift, 1 Humvee, 1 loader, 1 compost ,turner, 1 chopper, 1 "haybine" (cuts hay), 1 combine,1 tanker truck (carries liquid manure)

Peaks and Prairies Oils Seed Growers Cooperative • University of Montana and Montana State University • $46,300 grant: USDA Rural Development • Sustainable Systems, LLC & “Biobased economy” • 10,000 gallons of canola oil or 250,000lb of seed grown in pilot program • Demonstration Bus; 45k miles (U of M) • Crushing Plant purchase 2005:

Sunshine Farm • Bender, Martin, "Economic feasibility review for community-scale farmer cooperatives for biodiesel." Bioresource Technology 70:81-87 (1999). – The cost of producing biodiesel fuel from oilseeds, animal fats, or waste grease is 2-3 times the current of pre-tax diesel in the US and Europe. Thus, while the energy balance for producing biodiesel is positive, it would currently require government subsidies to compete with diesel.

Idaho Mustard Seed Research • • • • • • • • •

Goal: produce low cost oil for biodiesel and biopesticide from oilseed meal DOE needs 6-12 billion gallons/yr for less than 10 cents/lb Mustard seed oil is inedible for human Oil yield is 25 % to 40% seed content Yield goals; 2 ton/acre in rotation with wheat production High biomass content, deep tap root, alleopathic benefit in crop rotation Defatted meal from oilseed processing can be used as an organic pesticide Mustard seed meal has been effective upon fungus, nematodes, cut worms, wire worms, and crab grass Substitute for methyl bromide fumigation

Smale Scale Oilseed Production

Storage Cell Hog Farm

Manure is flushed into a buffer basin, then pumped to concentrators at central plant – showing 3 of 23 farms.

Raw Manure Sewage Lines

Treated Water

Digester effluent and concentrator supernatant to lagoons


Oil/Fat from rendering or soybean or used cooking oil


Heated Mixed Methane Digesters (4)

Concentrators (4) 6.0% TS slurry to digester

Digester Effluent

Biogas to Methanol plant

Manure Heat to digester

BioMethanol Plant BioMethanol trucked from biomethanol plant to biodiesel plant

Schematic by Prince Dugba 01-08-03

BioDiesel/Diesel 20/80 Blend

Filling station

BioDiesel Plant rendering oil/fat, vegetable oil or used cooking is reacted with methanol to synthesize Biodiesel

Buffer Basin

Treated Water

BioDiesel delivery to Filling station

Smithfield truck running on BioDiesel

Sustainability and Biodiesel Production • How do you create a truly sustainable fuel industry? • Do we include: Factory farming, Wood chipping, Genetic engineering, Fossil fuel derived electricity, Deforestation ? • Should we not use Biodiesel in all ag. transport and agriculture producing the Biodiesel feed stocks and shipping of end products.

Ways to Create Sustainable Biofuels…. • Renewable resources shall be used wherever possible. (paper, electricity, water, etc.) Feedstock preferences : • Precision farming methods preferred to GM crops. • Investigation of GM crops for environmental/social consequences before acceptance as feedstock. • Waste or low value products re-used where possible. • bio-methanol or bio-ethanol Feedstock Exclusions: • No methanol from native woodchips. • No feedstock from deforestation. • No feedstock from factory farming.

Decentralized Energy Market • Vegetable oil based energy economy= Decentralize whole energy market • Every nation has capacity to grow vegetable oil, fats, tallows, or access them • The few multinationals who control exploration, extraction, refining, & distribution or the worlds’ energy loose power • Worlds poorest countries can grow & produce their own energy demands • More equitable distribution of wealth!

Resources •

• • • • • Small scale oilseed processing guide; Biodiesel: A Brief Overview Biodiesel, Farming for the Future Insights from Sunshine Farm Cold-Pressing of Oilseeds, Organic Rape Cultivation, Pure Plant Oil (3 separate articles) On Farm Biodiesel Production with WVO Sunflower Seed Huller & Oil-seed Press Taby-pressen oil seed presses Food or Fuel?

• • •

Pressing Vegetable Oil

Commercial Scale Feedstock Preparation Presentation material from Iowa State Biodiesel Course

Processing vegetable oils • • • •

Extraction Refining (Degumming and neutralization) Bleaching Deodorizing

Vegetable oil extraction • Vegetable oils can be extracted from the oilseed (or fruit) in two basic ways: – Solvent extraction – Mechanical extraction • Some plants use a combination (prepressing followed by solvent extraction)

Cooking • Soybeans and rapeseed contain enzymes that can make the meal unsuitable for use as feed. • The enzymes can be destroyed by heating to 150-160ºC. This can be done before or after oil extraction.

Soybean oil contaminants • Gums (phospholipids, phosphotides) – phosphorus-containing compounds • Free fatty acids • Unsaponifiable matter (sterols, tocopherol, hydrocarbons)

Soy oil processing • Crude soybean oil can be used directly for biodiesel production. • Phospholipids and most other contaminants will end up in glycerol. This complicates glycerol clean-up. • Refined oils are less problematic – contain no emulsifiers – and give greatest yield.

Degumming • Degumming is removal of phosphorus compounds. • Water degumming can usually take phosphorus from 600-900 ppm down to 50-80 ppm. Some guns are not hydratable. • Phosphoric acid can remove almost all gums but lecithin may not be edible.

Caustic Refining • Crude soybean oil may contain 0.3 – 0.7% free fatty acids. • FFAs are removed by adding sodium hydroxide – water solution and converting FFAs to soap. Then soap is washed out. • Resulting product is soapstock, a potential low cost feedstock for biodiesel

Bleaching • Bleaching is used to remove color and may also remove remaining FFAs, soap, metals, gums, peroxides. • Add an absorbant clay powder, agitate at 90120ºC, filter out powder. • Spent bleaching clay is a fire hazard and may be a low cost source of biodiesel.

Deodorization • Trace compounds may remain that give a taste and odor to the oil. These are removed by distillation. • Deodorization can remove some or most of the tocopherol (vitamin E), which is useful for controlling oxidation. • Deodorizer distillate (residue) is an important source of vitamin E.

Demonstration of oil press and plant oil car. The simple technology is always convincing and creates immediate sympathy. Århus, Denmark, 2000.

Small-Scale Oilseed Processing • Value-added processing to farm product • Potential income or community project for rural areas • Small-scale oil extraction more common outside of the U.S.

Basic Oil Processing Steps • Raw Material Preparation -- seed cleaning, dehulling, heating • Mechanical crushing (< 300kg/day) -- oil press, expeller, mortar & pestle • or solvent extraction -- seeds are flaked, hexane percolates through flakes and is recovered by flash-distillation, oil remains • Refining -- filter, settle, centrifuge particles out, de-gum with water, remove contaminants like fatty acids by adding alkali solution, de-oderize

Basic Oil Processing Steps • • • •

Heat and filter oil Remove water Storage: clean, dry, & dark containers Shelf life: 6-12 months

Tips for Successful Seed Pressing • Dry -- moist seed has low yield; oil from moldy seed is unfit for human consumption • Clean -- reduces damage to seed press • Warm -- heated seed yields more oil • De-hull -- hulls absorb oil and decrease yield

Traditional Method •

Dehulling of seeds

ApproTEC Press • • •

An original "ram press" design by Carl Bielenberg The press extracts oil from sunflower, sesame, and other oil seeds The filter produces clear, coldpressed, nutritious cooking oil ready for sale or consumption The seedcake by-product is valued as a high protein animal feed supplement.

Oil-seed Options for Varying Climates • Jatropha • Coconut;-Vanuatu Island, South Pacific • Palm Oil

Jatropha around the world Belize BurkinaFaso China

Sudan Tanzania Tunusia


Comore Islands  Uganda  Côted'Ivoire   Zimbabwe Egypt Zambia Ethiopia   Sri Lanka Ghana   India   Indonesia   Madagascar   Malawi Mali Namibia Nepal Nicaragua Papua New GuineaRCI (Côte d'Ivoire)   Senegal South Africa   

Bielenberg’s Press

The piston

The cage

The hopper Output of presscake

Sundhara Press

Side view

The cage with the cage bars. Their distance is one important factor which determines the yield of the oil extraction

View from the front, the oil cake is collected in the central basket, the oil in the small baskets at right

Sundhara Press

Schematic drawing of screw and cage

Taby Press-Type 90 •

Screw presses for cold pressing

Taby Press-Type 40 •

Screw presses for cold pressing

Komet Press

Komet Press •

Press and hopper.

Links • • • • •