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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 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. It 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, KoreaIt 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.

Biodiesel Feedstocks – Lesquerella Oil & Linseed Oil 150 150 Star Oilco

Biodiesel Feedstocks – Lesquerella Oil & Linseed 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 Lesquerella Oil & Linseed Oil.  Here is a link to the main page of feedstocks we have examined so far.

Lesquerella fendleri Oil

Lesquerella fendleri, also known as Physaria fendleri, is part of the mustard family. (Lesquerella) Physaria Fendleri part of the mustard familyThe common names of this plant are popweed and Fendler’s bladderpod. This silvery-gray perennial has four-petaled yellow flowers that grow on a plant that is about 1 to 16 inches tall. Found in plains and mesas in the southwestern United States, it requires low water usage and is one of the first of the flowering wildflowers in the spring (Source).

Lesquerella produces hairless capsules called siliques which contain 6 to 25 seeds. These seeds contain 20-28% oil with around 62% lesquerolic acid. Lesquerella oil is a source of hydroxyl unsaturated fatty acids, and is useful as a replacement for castor oil in some applications.

While there are benefits from using this seed oil, the dark reddish-brown color of the oil is a potential limiting factor. Potential selective breeding and domestication of the plant may solve this issue, but there haven’t been much momentum at this time. That being said, there have been some studies about growing this plant for its oil and the natural gum in its seed coat for commercial use.


Lesquerella Oil and Lesquerella Biodiesel

Lesquerella BioDiesel Certificate of Analysis



Linseed Oil

Linseed (Linum usitatissimum) is also known as flax in North America. The plant is an annual and can grow in large range of climates. Linseed Oil and SeedsFor example, it grows in Argentina, India, and Canada. Linseed oil has been traditionally used as a drying oil. According to REG report, these seeds contains 37-42% oil. The crude oil contains 0.25% phosphatides, a small amount of crystalline wax, and a water-soluble resinous matter with antioxidant properties.

As one the earliest cultivated field crops in the US, it has found many uses for its oils. Linseed oil can be used as a varnish, pigment binder or to manufacture linoleum. These applications have seen reductions in use due to synthetic options that resist yellowing. Other uses for this plant are as nutritional supplements and foods, although raw linseed oil can become rancid unless refrigerated.  After the oil has been pressed out of the seeds, the leftover residue makes great animal food.

As some of the traditional uses of the plant are replaced with other options, use of this crop for a feedstock in biodiesel is an option.

Linseed Oil and Linseed biodiesel


Last article for biodiesel feedstocks was Jatropha Oil, Jojoba Oil, & Karania Oil.

BioDiesel Feedstocks – Jatropha Oil, Jojoba Oil, & Karania Oil 150 150 Star Oilco

BioDiesel Feedstocks – Jatropha Oil, Jojoba Oil, & Karania Oil

Jatropha Oil, Jojoba Oil, & Karania Oil

We are continuing our deeper look into different types of feedstock that Renewable Energy Group (REG) studied in 2009 in the Feedstock and Biodiesel Characteristics Report. If you would like to see what feedstocks we have talked about, this is the main page and it links to the ones we have examined.

As a reminder, B20 biodiesel (B20 stands for 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel) is the drop-in solution for reduced emissions in today’s modern diesel engines. To understand some of the alternate feedstocks that can be used for biodiesel, we are examining a report that Renewable Energy Group (REG) produced in 2009. All certificates of analysis and results are for B100.

This post is a bit different as we have only one successful biodiesel created and two failures. The oils are jatropha oil, jojoba oil and karanja oil.

Jatropha Oil

Jatropha oil comes from the shrub Jatropha curcas, also known as physic nut, Barbados nut, poison nut, bubble bush or purging nut. This plant is a succulent that loses its leaves during the dry season. It is best adapted for arid and semi-arid conditions. The resistance to high degrees of aridity allows it to grow in deserts. This shrub can thrive on only 10 inches of rain for a whole year. It is native to Mexico, Central America, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and Paraguay. Jatropha curcas is considered a shrub or small tree and can reach a height of 20 ft. or more.Top of a Jatropha plant as part of a hedge

 “Shrubs begin to produce when only 4 – 5 months old, and reach full productivity at about 3 years Under good rainfall conditions, nursery plants bear fruit after the first rainy season, while directly seeded plants bear for the first time after the 2nd rainy season. With vegetative propagation, the first seed yield is higher. At least 2 – 3 tonnes of seeds per hectare can be achieved in semi-arid areas.” (Source)

The seeds contain 27% to 40% oil (Source) and develop in 90 days from the flower to the seed. Trees can have a productive life of 40 to 50 years without tending.

Uses of the plant include medical, edible and as a source of oil for biofuels. The young shoots and even young leaves can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable. The nuts can be eaten but they are purgative and, if eaten in large quantities, can be poisonous.

Medicinal uses include uses the juice from the bark as a treatment for malarial fevers and or using it to treat external burns, scabies and ringworm (Source).

The low maintenance and high oil content makes this plant attractive as a biofuel feedstock. In addition to its use for biodiesel, the oil has been made into jet fuels. In 2008, Air New Zealand flew a plane on 50/50 mix of jatropha oil fuel and jet A1 fuel (Source).

Currently biodiesel is being produced from this plant in the Philippines, Pakistan and Brazil.


Jatropha Oil and the biodiesel it produces

Jatropha biodiesel certificate of analysis

Jojoba Oil

Golden jojoba oil was produced from the plant called jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis), an evergreen perennial shrub grown in Arizona, Mexico, and neighboring areas. Some of the common names of this are goat nut, deer nut, pignut, wild hazel, quinine nut, coffeeberry and the gray box bush (Source). The dehulled seeds of jojoba contain 44% of liquid wax ester, which is not a triglyceride.

Seeds on a Female Jojoba BushThis shrub grows to 3 to 6 feet tall and some can get as tall as nearly 10 feet. The fruit is acorn-shaped and .4 inches to .8 inches long.  The seed is dark brown.

Uses of the plant include forage for wild animals such as deer, bighorn sheep and some livestock. In large quantities, the seed meal is toxic to many animals. The oil is different than many of the feedstocks we have discussed.

“Jojoba is unique in that the lipid content of the seeds, which is between 45 and 55 wt.%, is in the form of long-chain esters of fatty acids (FA) and alcohols (wax esters) as opposed to triacylglycerols (TAG) encountered in other vegetable oils and animal fats” (Source).

Because of this, the Jojoba oil wasn’t made into a biodiesel for this study. According to the REG Report:

“The purpose of this project was to transesterify all the feedstocks using the same procedure and if jojoba was done differently, comparisons could not be made with jojoba methyl esters. Jojoba can be transesterified and used as a fuel using a different process.”

Jojoba Oil as a biodiesel feedstock

Karanja Oil

Pure, cold pressed karanja oil was purchased from The Ahimsa Alternative, Inc.Karanja Tree source for Biodiesel Karanja (Pongamia pinnata) is a medium sized evergreen tree, and usually about 25 ft. tall but can grow as large as 80 ft tall (Source). The tree has dark green leaves and the very fragrant flowers of lavender, pink and white.  The tree grows in the humid tropic and can be found in India, China, and Japan. The seed contains 27-39% oil.

Karanja is used for oil production and has some successes in India as a feedstock. In regards to this study, they weren’t able to create a biodiesel fuel using the same procedure as the rest of the feedstocks and therefore there isn’t a sample created to test.

REG’s notes about this oil are as follows:

“Esterification was only able to reduce the FFA (Free Fatty Acid) of the oil to 0.7 wt %. Since 0.5 wt % was the maximum amount of FFA allowed in the feedstock, karanja was not made into biodiesel using the standard procedure. A small scale experiment was performed to see what would happen to the karanja when it was transesterified. A 20 gram sample of karanja oil was used, along with the standard ratios of chemicals as in the other feedstocks for the project. After the water wash step, the karanja formed an emulsion with the water and the phases would not separate. No further refining experiments were done to make karanja suitable for transesterification.”

Karanja Oil

Last article for biodiesel feedstocks was Hemp Oil & High IV and Low IV Hepar

BioDiesel Feedstocks – Hemp Oil & High IV and Low IV Hepar 150 150 Star Oilco

BioDiesel Feedstocks – Hemp Oil & High IV and Low IV Hepar

In this post we are going to continue our deeper look into different types of feedstock that Renewable Energy Group (REG) studied in 2009 in the Feedstock and Biodiesel Characteristics Report. The feedstocks we are looking into are Hemp Oil & High IV and Low IV Hepar. Here is a link to the main page of feedstocks we have examined so far.

As a reminder B20 Biodiesel (B20 stands for 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel)  is the drop in solution for reduced emissions in today’s modern diesel engines.   To understand some of the alternate feedstocks that can be used for biodiesel, we are examining a report that Renewable Energy Group (REG) produced in 2009. All certificates of analysis and results are for B100.

Hemp Oil

Hemp seed oil comes from the plant Cannabis sativa and contains significant amounts of linolenic acid. The hemp oil in this study was sourced out of Canada and these seeds have an oil content of 33 percent. Cannabis sativa male picture of flowers

Based on Industrial Hemp Regulations in Canada:

“Industrial hemp includes Cannabis plants and plant parts, of any variety, that contains 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or less in the leaves and flowering heads.

Industrial hemp also includes the derivatives of industrial hemp plants and plant parts. These do not include the flowering parts or the leaves.

Examples of derivatives that are considered industrial hemp include: hemp seed oil (oil derived from seed or grain) and hemp flour.”

THC is the chemical that has psychoactive properties and is what makes the cannabis Marijuana vs Hemp.

This biodiesel sample was created with seed oil that contained less than .03% THC.

Cannabis sativa is an annual flowering plant that originates in Central Asia and is now spread world-wide. The uses of the plant include seed oil, food, recreation, medicine and industrial fiber. (Source)

The centuries of early human cultivation of these plants has created a large variety of strains that look, grow and act different.  Pictured is an example of what a Hemp or Marijuana plant looks like in bloom.


Hemp Oil and hemp Biodiesel

Hemp Oil Biodiesel Certificate of Analysis



Hepar, High Iodine Value and Low Iodine Value (IV)

In this situation, Hepar is a byproduct of the heparin manufacturing process. Pharmaceutical grade heparin is derived from the mucosal tissues and of animals, such as pig intestines or cow lungs. (Mucosal tissues are part of the immune system it is the barrier between potential pathogens and the body.) Heparin is a medicine that is used as an anticoagulant.  Since the creation of Heparin is a industry secret, it is difficult to find much information about the byproduct Hepar.

High IV Hepar and Biodiesel

High IV Hepar Biodiesel Certificate of Analysis Low IV Hepar BioDiesel Certificate of Analysis


Last article for biodiesel feedstocks was Evening Primrose Oil & Fish Oil

BioDiesel Feedstocks – Evening Primrose & Fish Oil 150 150 Star Oilco

BioDiesel Feedstocks – Evening Primrose & Fish Oil

The two feedstocks we are looking into this time are Evening-Primrose Oil and Fish Oil. Here is a link to the main page of feedstocks we have examined so far.  As we continue our deeper look into different types of feedstock that Renewable Energy Group (REG) studied in 2009 in the Feedstock and Biodiesel Characteristics Report.

Evening-Primrose Oil

The Common Evening-primrose (Oenothera biennis) is also known as evening star, sun drop, German rampion, weedy evening primrose, hog weed, King’s cure-all, or fever-plant.  This plant is native to North America and grows throughout most of the continental US and in Canada. Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose). Flowers and buds

A unique aspect of this plant is that it has a bright yellow flower blooms that is open in the evening and then is closed at noon.(source)  This plant can grow up to 6 feet tall and is a biennial, meaning it lives for 2 years flowering the second year. The plant has leafy branched stems that are ridged and usually has fine white hair.

According to Friends of the wild flower:

“The leaves are both basal and stem. Basal leaves taper to short stalks and form a rosette in the first year of growth. The stem leaves develop the second year when the flowering stem rises; they are alternate, lance-like, wavy edged, slightly toothed, slightly hairy on both surfaces, with one main central vein and fine laterals. They can be up to 8 inches long near the base and 1/4 as wide, but become considerable shorter near the top of the stem.”

A simple google search shows that this plant has medicinal uses, known by some of the indigenous tribes of North America for hundreds of years. Some of the common uses were to treat bruises with a poultice and use the leaves in a tea as a stimulant. The drug in the plant can be used as a sedative and and as an astringent. The oil the plant produces is full of fatty acids and is sold as a dietary supplement.

The roots of the plant can also be boiled and eaten if they haven’t flowered yet. The leaves of the plant can be used before flowering in salads. Even the flowers can be eaten and are said to have a sweet taste.

The ability of the plant to grow in arid conditions and not need a lot of water adds potential of this plant to provide nutrients, oil and medicinal material for drier locations.


Evening Primrose Oil and the Bio-Diesel it produces

Evening Primrose Certificate of Analysis



Fish Oil

The Fish Oil that REG used simply says “Fish oil was obtained from a commercially available source in Peru.”  The types of fish that are used to make fish oil in Peru are anchovy, herring, menhaden or sardines.

This source was likely the same that would be purchased to produce fish oil nutritional supplements or other food products. In the production of biodiesel there is a large potential for this product. Many of the toxins and imperfections that need to come out for human consumption wouldn’t effect the creation of biodiesel.  Fish oil that is produced in the process of fish processing has potential of removing waste from going to landfills. Several scholarly papers have been written on it.  If you would like to know a little more this article was written on the waste from salmon processing in Canada.

Fish Oil and the Fish Bio-Diesel that it produces

Fish Oil Bio-diesel Certificate of Analysis


Last article for biodiesel feedstocks was Coconut Oil and Coffee Oil.

BioDiesel Feedstocks – Coconut Oil & Coffee Oil 150 150 Star Oilco

BioDiesel Feedstocks – Coconut Oil & Coffee Oil

We are 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 week’s two feedstocks are Coconut Oil and Coffee Oil. Here is a link to the main page of feedstocks we have examined so far.

Coconut Oil

For this feedstock REG purchased refined, bleached, deodorized (RBD) coconut oil.The parts of a coconut tree.

As a background, lets talk a little bit about Coconut trees (Cocos nucifera) they are part of the palm tree family (Arecaceae) and they love sandy soils and can tolerate a high level of salt. The trees prefer regular rainfall, high humidity 70-80% and lots of sunshine.  This is why we see them on the shorelines and beaches in the warmer parts of the world. They need year round warmth and moisture to grow well and produce fruit.  The Coconut palm tree can grow up to 98 ft tall and has 13-20 ft long leaves. A tree can begin producing fruit as early as 6 years but usually take between 15 to 20 years to reach its peak producing capacity. Most trees produce about 30 fruit a year but under ideal conditions they can produce as much as 75 a year.  Coconuts can be found in more than 90 countries with most of the production coming from tropical Asia.  The Philippines, India, and Indonesia account for over 72% of the production.

Coconuts already have a variety of uses, as food, cosmetics and animal food. Virtually every part of the palm can be used by humans for economic value.

Production of the oils used for biodiesel requires the coconut meat be removed from the seeds, dried and then pressed for the oil. A coconut that is between 12 to 15 months old is best for this.  You can expect to get about 50ml of oil per nut. The remaining meal is then able to still be used as an animal feed or can even be turned into a flour for baking.


Coconut Oil as a feedstock for Biodiesel.

Biodiesel Certificate of Analysis for Coconut Oil Chart.



Coffee Oil

Cup of Coffee on Coffee beans, Can this be the next form of BioDiesel?Coffee comes from roasted coffee beans, these “beans” are actually the seeds from berries of the Coffea species, with the two most common species being C. arabica and C. canephora. People have been drinking coffee since the 15th century.  Coffee plants are evergreen shrubs that can grow up to 15 feet tall. They have glossy, dark-green leaves about 4 to 6 inches long.  Brazil, Vietnam, and Colombia are were most of the coffee is coming from.

Most Coffee grounds are thrown away or used as compost, but if we were to extract the oil possibilities arise. Coffee oil comes from spent coffee grounds; the grounds can contain as much as 11 to 20 percent oil. Extracting the oil doesn’t stop the grounds from being used as compost and you now have an oil that can be converted into biodiesel.  In the past the process of extracting the oil was cost prohibitive and took many steps to complete. There have been some recent advances in this process that could change this in the future. This method, if used on all coffee grounds, could produce over 286 million gallons a year of biodiesel.


Coffee Oil and the biodiesel that is produced from it.

Biodiesel Certificate of Analysis for Coffee Oil Chart.


Last article for biodiesel feedstocks was Castor Oil and Choice White Grease.