Oilseed will be cold pressed on-farm and will generate 6,000 – 14,000 gallons of straight vegetable oil (SVO) / year and about 70 ton / year of high quality bypass protein meal for the dairy ration. The underlying assumptions in this calculation are: 100 acres; spring versus fall canola (40 versus 70 bushel / acre); 1.5 – 2 gallons SVO / bushel of oilseed. This energy system / process again showcases the cost effectiveness (at smaller scale) and improved co-product characteristics (higher glycerol extraction improves all season use characteristics) of the Soil Net, LLC polymer separation technologies, in clarification and conversion of SVO to biodiesel.
The cold extraction oil will be transferred to the agitated reactor where the transesterification reaction takes place in the presence of alkaline catalyst (sodium hydroxide or sodium methoxide) and alcohol (methanol) under optimal reaction conditions (molar ratio of alcohol, reaction temperature, time, and catalyst concentration) to be statistically optimized on a bench-scale level. The raw SVO will be analyzed for free fatty acid (FFA) content before subjecting to the reaction. If the oil has a FFA content over 2.5 wt%, a pretreatment step with an acid catalyst will be employed to the oil before transesterification process because FFA will react undesirably with the alkaline catalyst during reaction thereby forming soap, and it also facilitates the separation of biodiesel and glycerol.
Following phase separation, the reaction products, mainly biodiesel and glycerol, will be treated with polymers for purification (to remove impurities and color) and removal of soap during neutralization, respectively. Finally, the finished biodiesel will be analyzed for fuel parameters for use as a direct fuel for farm vehicles and machinery.
Chemical, physical, and fuel parameter analyses will include: (a) extracted oil characteristics will be determined according to AOCS (American Oil Chemists Society) official method; (b) transesterification reaction products will be determined using gas chromatograph / mass spectrometer (GC / MS); (c) biodiesel fuel characteristics will be determined using flash point and fire point analyzer.