Interest Shown in Manufacture of Biodiesel

by 5m Editor
25 July 2008, at 11:13am

CANADA - The Canadian International Grains Institute reports a growing interest among farmers in manufacturing their own biodiesel fuel, writes Bruce Cochrane.

The Canadian International Grains Institute has completed a cross Canada series of 50 biodiesel workshops.

The seminars covered everything from what is biodiesel to how it's made and from what to how it's used and attracted an estimated three thousand people.

CIGI director of bio-fuels and feed Dr. Rex Newkirk says the manufacture of biodiesel involves a series of steps.

Dr. Rex Newkirk-Canadian International Grains Institute

The first step is to get the oil.

In our case we've been using a blend of oils from restaurant greases where restaurants are looking to get rid of their used oil.

We use that as part of our blend and the rest we take from our press.

We have a little extraction press where we extract oil from various seeds.

Canola lately has been too costly so we've been using a lot of other types of seed.

We have to extract it so we have a little machine that extracts the oil from the seed.

Then the next step is to take that oil and chemically change it into a product that acts like diesel fuel and we call this biodiesel.

It's a four stage process that involves a chemical reaction with methanol and lye to rip the molecule apart and then we drain off some glycerol which is a by-product.

Then we do some ethanol recovery to recover any left over alcohol and then the last stage is to wash and dry the material so we wash the material and dry it and have our finished fuel.

It takes us about eight hours to make a batch of biodiesel.

Dr. Newkirk says is an interesting opportunity for farmers but they have to do a lot of homework and make sure they are aware of how the product is made, including the safety factors and the importance of quality control.

He says the volume and cost of finished product will vary according to the raw material used with costs ranging anywhere from 40 cents to a dollar and a half per litre depending on the source of material.

5m Editor