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Biodiesel Feedstocks – Sunflower Oil & Tung Oil 150 150 Star Oilco

Biodiesel Feedstocks – Sunflower Oil & Tung Oil

We are nearing the end of our journey, as there is only one more blog after this one. If you would like to look back and see all of the feedstocks we have covered start here with our first post.  In this post we explore the feedstocks Sunflower Oil and Tung Oil as we continue our look into different types of feedstock that Renewable Energy Group (REG) studied in 2009 in the Feedstock and Biodiesel Characteristics Report.

Sunflower Oil

The Sunflower oil in this project was purchased from Jedwards, International, Inc.  The common sunflower scientific name is Helianthus annuus. Sunflowers at late afternoon. Flowerheads facing East, away from the Sun.

First domesticated in the Americas the plant was exported to Europe in the 16th century and has become a staple as a cooking ingredient.  According Wildflower.org the common sunflower prefers full sun and well-drained soil. The plant grows up to 8 feet tall and has coarse hairy stems and leaves. The flowers are bright yellow surrounding a central maroon disk, that as it matures, holds the seeds and produces the oil.

The most known uses for sunflower seeds and its oils include; foods, cooking oils and butters. The pressed seed oil is useful for food and the resulting cake (matter left after the oil is harvested) is commonly used as animal food. One of the more interesting uses for the plant is, that it can produce a natural latex in its leaves. This latex can be used to produce hypoallergenic gloves.  The purpose of this post though is to discuss the possibility of biofuel created from sunflower seeds. Biodiesel magazine talks about both the pros and cons for this plant as a feedstock option:

“Because sunflower oil is priced higher than soybean and canola oils, its use as a feedstock for commercial biodiesel refining may be hindered in the U.S. market, according to the National Sunflower Association (NSA). However, there is an interest in the tall golden flowers because the seeds yield about 600 pounds of oil per acre, considerably more than soybeans, which produce a little over 500 pounds per acre.”

Because of the high value of the oil in other areas, using the oil for biodiesel can be cost prohibitive.  Higher concentrates of oil per acre can be vital as more efficiency in  biofuel production becomes necessary. According to Farm Energy, 15,000 to 25,000 plants per acre can be grown.  This means that a small or large farm can use this crop profitably or simply in the production of fuel for that farm.

Sunflower Oil and Sunflower biodiesel

 

 

Tung Oil

The Tung oil from this study was purchased from Sigma-Aldrich Co. The Tung tree, Vernicia fordii, is native to China and Vietnam.  This tree can be over 60 feet in height and is deciduous. Tung Tree at the Botanical Gardens Faculty of Science Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan According to Texas Invasive Species Institute:

“The bark is smooth, thin, and exudes white sap when cut. The leaves are simple, heart-shaped or with three lobes, and 6-10 inches long. The white flowers have 5 petals with red veins, and they bloom before the leaves emerge. The toxic fruits can grow up to 3 inches in diameter and are reddish green when fully developed.”

This tree is valued for its oil from the seeds.  Traditionally this oil was used in lamps and even as waterproofing on boats.  In more contemporary time this oil is used in varnishes and paint.  This value encouraged the importation of this tree. According to Texas Invasive Species Institute there was over 10,000 acres planted in the United States in 1927.  Cultivation of this tree has waned in the US after frosts and hurricanes destroyed many of the plantations.

This is one feedstock that isn’t part of the food vs fuel controversy.  The Tung tree and its oil is poisons to humans.  Even one seed from the fruit can be fatal, with symptoms including slowed breathing, vomiting and diarrhea.

 

Tung Oil and Tung Biodiesel

Tung Oil/Bio-diesel Certificate of Analysis

 

Last article for biodiesel feedstocks was – Soybean Oil & Stillingia Oil

If you would like to learn more about bio-diesel you can check out this post Every Question We Have Been Asked About Biodiesel

Biodiesel Feedstocks – Soybean Oil & Stillingia Oil 150 150 Star Oilco

Biodiesel Feedstocks – Soybean Oil & Stillingia Oil

This post covers one of the most common Feedstocks in the US, Soybean Oil. In addition, we are also looking into Stillingia Oil in our deeper dive into the feedstocks that Renewable Energy Group (REG) studied in 2009 in the Feedstock and Biodiesel Characteristics Report. If you would like to learn more you can follow the link to read more here about the feedstocks we have examined in the past.

Soybean Oil

Soybean (Glycine max) is a legume that originated in East Asia.  This plant has had a long history of cultivation. Many botanists believe that this bean was first domesticated as early as 7000 BCE in China.  It grows well in warm, well-drained sandy soil.  According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Soybean plant

“The soybean is an erect branching plant and can reach more than 2 metres (6.5 feet) in height. The self-fertilizing flowers are white or a shade of purple. Seeds can be yellow, green, brown, black, or bicoloured, though most commercial varieties have brown or tan seeds, with one to four seeds per pod.”

The United States has had soybeans as part of its history as far back as 1765.  In the 1950’s the US became the world’s largest exporter of soybeans.  If you would like to learn a little bit more about how this crop became important to the US check out this link.

This edible bean has a lot of uses.  A bean is made up of about 20% oil and 80% meal. According to NC Soybean Producers Association,  most soybeans are processed for the oil.  After the oil is removed, 3% is used directly in food products with the rest of the meal used for animal feed.

The United Soybean Board breaks down which animals are using soybeans as the protein source.

“The soybean meal fed in the U.S. goes to several segments of animal agriculture.

  • Poultry eats about 67 percent.

  • Pigs consume nearly 21 percent.

  • Beef and dairy cattle use just over 10 percent.

  • The rest goes to aquatic farming like fish and shrimp, other farm animals and companion animals like horses and pets.”

The oil is then used as food (68%) such as cooking oil – most cooking oils in the US that are listed as vegetable oil is soybean oil.   This oil can be turned into biofuel later.

The rest of the oil is used to create biodiesel and other products such as candles, paints and even plastics.   This crop is important to much of the farming community in United States. If  you would like to learn more there is a plethora of information about this subject on the internet.

Soybean Oil and Biodiesel

Soybean Oil Certificate of Analysis

 

 

Stillingia Oil

The Stillingia Oil from this study comes from the Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera).  Common names for this plant include; Florida aspen, grey popcorn tree, candleberry tree or chicken tree. A native plant to Eastern China and Taiwan, while it can be an invasive species in the US.  This video from UF / IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants  talks a little bit about how the plant looks and some of the characteristic of it.

This tree has spectacular fall colors and it loves warm, and moist climates. The tree grows up to 30 to 40  feet and loses its leaves in the winter (deciduous).

There are several uses for this tree, include soap made from the seed’s aril (the extra seed covering that are white and waxy in this plant).   Use as a nectar plant for honeybees. (source) In areas with seasons it is ornamental and displays beautiful colors along with being a great shade tree in the summer.

Finally, there is a large potential for biodiesel from the seed Oil. Biodiesel magazine talks about some of the potentials for this feedstock:

As a biodiesel feedstock, both the outer coating and the kernel of the tallow tree seeds are high in oil content, as the seeds contain 45 percent to 60 percent oil. Commercial plantations in other countries typically contain about 160 trees per acre, which are trimmed low for hand harvesting. Yields average 12,500 pounds of seed per acre, which can produce 2,300 pounds of stillingia oil, 2,500 pounds of vegetable tallow, 1,400 pounds of meal and nearly 5,000 pounds of biomass waste. In China, the meal is used as a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Breitenbeck says commercially produced trees average 645 gallons of oil per acre and some experts cite yields as high as 970 gallons per acre.

Since this is an invasive species in the US the benefits and the issues will need to be compared.

Stillingia Oil Certificate of Analysis

 

 

 

Last article for biodiesel feedstocks was – Poultry Fat & Rice Bran Oil

Biodiesel Feedstocks – Poultry Fat & Rice Bran Oil 150 150 Star Oilco

Biodiesel Feedstocks – Poultry Fat & Rice Bran Oil

Looking further into biodiesel feedstock we continue with Poultry Fat and Rice Bran Oil in our deeper dive into the feedstocks that Renewable Energy Group (REG) studied in 2009 in the Feedstock and Biodiesel Characteristics Report. If you would like to see more you can  read more here about the feedstocks we have examined in the past.

Poultry Fat

Rendering is the process of turning the left over animal products into fat or tallow. After the common parts of the animal are harvested the remaining parts are ground up and cooked. The oil and fat is then separated from the protein solids. Poultry fat, commonly made from chicken, Poultry Fat a possible source of bio-dieselis different from other forms of fat and tallow.  It tends to have less saturated fat. According to Farm Energy:

“Beef tallow and pork lard are typically about 40% saturated (sum of myristic, palmitic and stearic acids). Chicken fat is lower at about 30-33%. For comparison, soybean oil is about 14% saturated and canola oil is only 6%. Thus, tallow and lard are usually solid at room temperature and chicken fat, while usually still liquid, is very viscous and nearly solid.”

The high content of saturated fat can be a draw back for biodiesel produced from animal products. Beef Tallow in this study produced B100 (100% biodiesel) with a cloud point of 16° C or 60.8° F.  The Poultry Fat B100 in this study had a cloud point of 6.1° C or 42.98° F, in comparison Soybean Oil B100 in the same study was 0.9° C or 33.62° F.

One of the benefits of using animal fats for biodiesel is a higher Cetane number. (Source) “cetane number is a measurement of the quality or performance of diesel fuel. The higher the number, the better the fuel burns within the engine of a vehicle.”  Petroleum based fuels have a cetane number between 40 -44, soybean based biodiesel is between 48 – 52 and animal fat based biodiesel can have values over 60. (Source)

Poultry Fat Feedstock and Bio-Diesel

Poultry Fat Certificate of Analysis

 

 

Rice Bran Oil

Rice bran oil is a vegetable oil which is greatly available in East Asia countries. Rice bran is a byproduct of rice processing, containing about 15-23% oil.  The Rice Bran Oil that was used in this study was refined, bleached, deodorized, winterized (RBDW).

Rice bran oil is similar in make up to peanut oil made up of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fatty acids.

While the Oil is this study was considered non-edible, when processed in other ways the oil can be used in cooking and is popular for Asian countries such as Bangladesh, China, India and Japan.

Rice Bran Oil - Feedstock and Bio-Diesel

Rice Bran Oil Certificate of Analysis

 

Last article for biodiesel feedstocks was – Palm Oil & Perilla Seed Oil

Biodiesel Feedstocks – Palm Oil & Perilla Seed Oil 150 150 Star Oilco

Biodiesel Feedstocks – Palm Oil & Perilla Seed Oil

This deeper look into biodiesel feedstock includes one that is very controversial – palm oil. We will also be covering perilla seed oil as we continue our look into different types of feedstock that Renewable Energy Group (REG) studied in 2009 in the Feedstock and Biodiesel Characteristics Report. Read more about the feedstocks we have examined in the past.

Palm Oil

Palm oil is produced from the fruit of oil palms such as the American oil palm Elaeis oleifera, the maripa palm Attalea maripa, and most commonly the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis which is originally native to the area between Angola and the Gambia. This plant is different than the coconut oil that that comes from Cocos nucifera. (Read here for more information about coconut oil as a feedstock.) The E. guineensis can grow between 60 – 90 feet high with a single stemmed palm tree. Fruits are ovoid-oblong drupes, ¾ inch –2 inches long, tightly packed in large bunches with 1000–3000 fruits (Source).Oil palm plantation on the slopes of Mt. Cameroon

The natural state of palm oil as a saturated fat, is slightly reddish and semisolid at room temperature. For every 225 lbs. of fruit bunches, typically 50 lbs. of palm oil and 3.5 lbs. of palm kernel oil can be extracted. Based on the picture of the sample, we can assume that this source has been refined, bleached and deodorized to remove the beta-carotene that gives it the reddish color the natural state of palm oil.

Palm oil is edible and is used as a cheap substitute for butter and other vegetable oils. In fact, palm oil is in about half of all packaged products that are sold in supermarket, and not just in the food, but in things like soaps, cosmetics, and detergents. The controversy over palm oil is where it is grown and how the farmland is acquired. The main culprit is the African palm oil tree. It has been introduced and grown in Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Central America, the West Indies and several islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.  The problem that arises is rainforests are being cut down and replaced with this profitable crop. The incredible diversity of the rainforest is replace with a single species, and this has led to reductions in animal habitats such as orangutans, elephants, rhinos, and tigers (Source). If you would like to know more follow some of the links that were supplied as sources.  As far as green house gases and the reduction of them a recent study by the University of Göttingen investigated the whole life cycle of the greenhouse gases and here are the results (Source):

“The researchers found that using palm oil from first rotation plantations where forests had been cleared to make way for palms actually leads to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions compared to using fossil fuels. However, there is potential for carbon savings in plantations established on degraded land. In addition, emissions could be reduced by introducing longer rotation cycles or new oil palm varieties with a higher yield. “

The other side of this argument is that the production of this oil is a lifeline for some countries. Malaysia and Indonesia alone employ 4.5 million people directly in the industry with millions more depending on palm oil production indirectly for employment (Source). Stopping the use of palm oil would endanger many of these people.

Palm Oil and Palm Oil Biodiesel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biodiesel - Palm Oil Certificate of Analysis

 

 

Perilla Oil

Perilla oil comes from the plant Perilla ocymoides, a synonym for the more common name Perilla frutescens. Perilla frutescens var. japonica in Gimpo, KoreaPerilla is native to India and China in the mountainous regions and cultivated in China, Korea, Japan, and India. Introduced varieties of this plant are considered a weed in the United States and go by the common names Chinese basil, wild basil, perilla mint, beefsteak plant, purple perilla, wild coleus, blueweed, Joseph’s coat, and rattlesnake weed. This herb grows easily unattended, but is toxic for cattle and horses.

This annual herb is 1 ft to 6 ft tall with a square stem and green or purple minty smelling leaves. The plant takes about 4 months from germination to start flowering, and the seeds mature about 6 weeks after.

The flowers, leaves, seeds, and sprouts are all used in Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese foods either as flavoring or a garnish. According to Pl@ant Use:

“Perilla serves as a side dish with rice and as an important ingredient in noodles, baked fish, fried foods, cakes and beverages. The leaves can be easily dried for off-season use. The purple-leaved forms, which contain large amounts of anthocyanins, are used for coloring pickled fruits and vegetables. These forms are also very decorative ornamental plants.”

While mostly used as a food, the plant is also used for an antidote for fish and crab meat allergies in Japan and has some potential as an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic reagent.

The seeds contain 35-45 percent oil. In addition to being made into biodiesel, this oil is also used for perfumes and sweetening agents.

 

Perilla Oil and Perilla Biodiesel

Perilla Oil Certificate of Analysis

 

Last article for biodiesel feedstocks was Moringa oleifera Oil and Neem Oil

Biodiesel Feedstocks – Moringa Oil & Neem Oil 150 150 Star Oilco

Biodiesel Feedstocks – Moringa Oil & Neem Oil

We’re continuing our deeper look into different types of feedstock that Renewable Energy Group (REG) studied in 2009 in the Feedstock and Biodiesel Characteristics Report. This posts two feedstocks are Moringa oleifera Oil and Neem Oil.  To see more of the feedstocks we have already covered follow this link to the main page of feedstocks we have examined so far.

Moringa oleifera Oil

Moringa oleifera is a tree with the common names moringa, drumstick tree, horseradish tree and ben oil tree.The tree and seedpods of Moringa oleifera in Dakawa, Morogoro, Tanzania. This tree ranges in height from 15 to 30 feet tall, and is native to India, Africa, Arabia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Caribbean islands, South America, and the Philippines. This deciduous tree is fast-growing and drought-resistant. It loves sun and heat and doesn’t tolerate freezing weather. Moringa oleifera is a slender tree with drooping branches, brittle stems and whitish-grey corky bark. It has feathery green to dark-green foliage tripinnate leaves and yellowish-white flowers. The trees usually begin producing about second year about 300 pods, but it can take a few years to get to the 1000 or more pods a good tree can yield.

There are a vast amount of uses for this tree. According to Purdue University, almost every part of the plant has value as a food. The seeds can be eaten like a peanut, the roots can be eaten and taste like horseradish, and the leaves are eaten in salads, curries and used for seasoning.

The plant has other non-food uses include Moringa seeds being pressed for oil. This oil is used in arts and lubricating small and delicate machines, and it clear, sweet and odorless it is edible and is also used in manufacturing perfumes and hair products. The wood can be used to create a blue dye and the bark is used in tanning.

The oil from the seeds contain between 33 and 41 % oil. It is also known as Ben Oil, due to its content of behenic (docosanoic) acid. This oil can be used in the production of biodiesel, (Source) and the remaining seed cake can be used as fertilizer.

Morigna Oil and Morigna Biodiesel

Morigna oleifera Biodiesel Certificate of Analysis

 

 

Neem Oil

The Neem tree is also known as nimtree, Indian lilac, or margosa tree. ABHIJEET (photographer) (2014, September 19) Neem tree in banana farms at Chinawal, India. The scientific name is Azadirachta indica. This large evergreen tree that is usually 49 to 66 ft tall but can get as big as 130 ft tall. This fast growing  tree is found in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaya, Indonesia, Japan, and the tropical regions of Australia. It has long skinny leaves that are dark green in color and produces white fragrant flowers. The flowers produce a smooth olive like fruit. The seed in the center is called the kernel which contain 40-50% of an acrid green to brown colored oil.  The oil in the REG study was pure, cold pressed neem oil that was purchased from The Ahimsa Alternative, Inc.

This tree can tolerate high to very high temperatures but does poorly in temperatures below 40o F.   It grows best in dry, sandy well-draining soil. (Source)  Neem trees are drought resistant, but begin to lose leaves in prolonged droughts. The tree propagates itself by seeding and in some non-native environments the plant has been classified as a weed.

There are many uses of the Neem tree. The wood is strong and durable, the tree is related to the mahagony family, so furniture and other durable good can be made from the wood.  The leaves are dried and used in cupboards as an insect deterrent to prevent insects from eating clothes and rice. The trees oil and products can be found in shampoos, soaps creams, toothpastes and mouthwashes. The young twigs are even used as toothbrushes in rural areas. (Source)   The oil extracted from the seeds are used as a natural insecticide, repellent and fungicide. The oil is also used as a lubricant, lamp fuel and can be turned into biodiesel.

Neem Oil & Neem Biodiesel

NEEM Biodiesel Certificate of Analysis

 

Last article for biodiesel feedstocks was Lesquerella Oil & Linseed Oil.