Camelina field trials, biodiesel evaluation continue in Fla.

By Erin Voegele | November 08, 2011

Florida-based Green Oil Solutions Inc. has announced the successful production of camelina biodiesel, from field trials to harvesting, pressing and processing. According to Steve Edmonds, the company’s director of industry and development, the fuel was produced at lab-scale at met the ASTM D6751 quality specifications using the process developed by Reiter Scientific Consulting LLC, which was contracted by Green Oil Solutions to develop a cost effective method for the conversion of camelina oil into biodiesel. The project has been funded by Green Oil Solutions.

The goal of Green Oil Solutions, said Edmonds, is to develop alternative feedstock options for biodiesel production. The company focuses on two types of feedstock, recycled vegetable oils and nonfood energy crops. Camelina is the first crop that Green Oil Solutions has gathered abundant data on. The data will be used to predict crop yields under various growing conditions. Edmonds was unable to disclose other oilseed feedstocks his company is investigating.

To complete the camelina evaluation, the Green Oil Solutions collected data on approximately 2,500 acres of camelina planted by central Florida farmers under a variety of climatic, geographic and seeding conditions. The camelina seeds were harvested via a mechanized harvester by Wise Seed Co. and Jack Melton Family Inc. The seeds were then cleaned, sorted and dried before the oil was extracted using a high-efficiency screw-press extruder. Biodiesel was processed using the camelina oil by Reiter Scientific Consulting. According to Green Oil Solutions, the method development was successful as verified by third-party testing performed by Midwest Laboratories.

According to Green Oil Solutions, result of the testing showed that the camelina biodiesel had similar physical characteristics to fuel produced using soybean or sunflower feedstock. In addition, the camelina press cake was shown to possess large concentrations of omega-3 oils, implying that the feedstock byproducts could enjoy strong demand from the feed industry.

Edmonds notes his company aims to encourage farmers to grow alternative biofuel feedstocks such as camelina. “Our goal as a company is not only to identify and establish crops like camelina,” said Edmonds, but also to help farmers figure out how to make a profit growing them, and assist feedstock companies to procure the crops and press them into oil. “We are creating a whole heck of a lot of economy and a whole heck of a lot of opportunity for domestic industry,” he said.

Green Oil Solutions work with camelina is ongoing. According to Edmonds, his company already has commitments from several farmers to plant between 3,000 and 6,000 acres of the crop in the upcoming growing season. We are trying to get those crops in the ground by the end of November, Edmonds said. Next year, the company hopes to increase planted acreage within Florida to 10,000, and double each year after. “We hope to help everyone realize the opportunity of integrating energy crops into the whole idea of alternative fuels, and how positive it is all the way around,” Edmonds said. 

Green Grease Solutions is currently in negotiations with Florida biodiesel producer Smart Fuels Florida LLC to form a contractual relationship under which Green Oil Solutions would provide camelina oil and processing expertise to Smart Fuels Florida. In turn, Smart Fuels would convert the feedstock into biodiesel on a commercial scale. 


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