Minnesota Researchers Looking at New Oilseeds

John Davis

umcrookston.gifResearch into additional oilseeds to make into biodiesel is gaining more popularity, especially as the cost for soybean oil, currently the most commonly used feedstock, soars to record levels.

Paul Aakre University of Minnesota-Crookston researcher is one of those looking at expanding the field of oilseeds, according to this article in the Dickinson, North Dakota Press:

aakrepaul.jpg“We are hearing more and more positive talk when it comes to biodiesels, even more so than corn for ethanol,” Aakre said. “One of the advantages of biodiesel is the potential for individual farmers or a small group of farmers to produce their own fuel in a much simpler technology than ethanol.”

Aakre and one of his students, Jade Estling, Roosevelt, Minn., are embarking on a project that will test the viability of canola meal as a heating source in wood stoves.

The project will use the same basic process for extracting canola oil for biodiesel. Instead of using the pulp or the meal extrusion a byproduct of the process solely for cattle feed, the meal will be made into pellets that will be tested by Northwest Manufacturing Inc., in Red Lake Falls, Minn., which makes wood stoves.

Aakre and Estling will team with a group of canola growers from the Wannaska, Minn., area, which provided the UMC researchers with a twin-screw expeller, a $16,000 machine used to extract oil and meal from oil seeds.

Aakre will be producing some of that oil into biodiesel right on the UM-Crookston campus with some of the biodiesel going back to farmers who provided the canola. The canola meal, a by-product of the oil extraction process, will be fed to cattle.