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Biodiesel For Farmers

One of the many benefits of biodiesel is that it can be made from a long list of oil vegetable or animal oils.  The list of seed crops that convert beautifully into ASTM-D6751 grade biodiesel includes sunflower, safflower, canola, camelina, mustard seed, peanut, olive, soybean, rapeseed, jatropha, sesame, palm, cottonseed, coconut, etc. and the list continues to grow. We've selected a few interesting crops to call out below, but there are many others.  (See links on biodiesel made from animal tallows below).

As a result, we are seeing a growing number of farmers take the plunge and choose to make their own fuel.   All a farmer needs is a BioPro™ and a seed crusher, and he can reduce his fuel operation bills significantly.  We have yet to meet a farmer who isn't making their own fuel with a BioPro for less than the cost of regular diesel.

Harvest the oil seed crop, crush the seeds, collect the oil, process the oil in a BioPro™, sell the remaining high-protein bran as cattle feed, and save money!

Johhny Davis (pictured at left) is doing it. 

Johnny is a semi-retired farmer and owner of the ARCO feedlot in DeWitt, AR.  He operates a BioPro™ 380 and SpringPro™ T76 drywash system.  With this set up, he is capable of producing 100 gallons every 13 hours. 

He is one of several farmers in the Arkansas Delta region that is working to convert camelina and other winter crops into ASTM-grade biodiesel

Read more about Johnny Davis' project here

Making BIodiesel on the Farm

 

Three Cases Studies:

The Colusa Indian Community Council

Watch their video.

  • Location: Colusa, CA.
  • Acreage: 4500 acres total.
  • Crops: rice, almonds, walnuts & wheat
  • Biodiesel Equipment: BioPro 380EX, SpringPro DM380, Chinese-made seed press.
  • Number of gals of diesel and/or biodiesel needed to run farm/year: 100,000 Number of gallons of biodiesel expected to make in 2010? As many as possible. They have already dedicated 42 acres to Safflower. Their intention is to expand that number to 200 acres
  • Blend Percentage: B20 - B100
  • Equipment biodiesel is used in: Tractors, trucks, contracting equipment
  • Source: Safflower, sunflower screenings AND WVO reclaimed from Colusa Casino.
  • Costs: (tilling, pesticides, chemical imputs, reaping, labor, depreciation) Approx. $1.50/gallon Scott and Paul are experimenting with a variety of different feedstocks. They can make 200 gals ASTM grade fuel every day.
 
 

Wedeberg Family Farm - Members of Organic Valley Foods

 

  • Location: La Farge, WI
  • Acreage: 220 tillable, 190 pasture
  • Crops: Corn, hay, small grain, and SUNFLOWERS, 50 cows
  • Equipment: BioPro 380 + Kern Kraft 40 seed press
  • Total # of gallons of diesel and/or biodiesel needed to run farm per year: 2700
  • Biodiesel made and used per year: 700 gals.
  • Blend Percentage: B20- B100
  • Equipment biodiesel used in: John Deere 4430, 4640, 5425, 4020 x4
2009 Wedeberg Study:
InputstypeCosts/Acre
CropSunflower
Acres8
Fuel to Plow, Cultivate and Harvest8.13 gallons$24.39
Starter Fertilizer $40.00
Seed $16.00
Custom Combining $36.56
Cash rent $100.00
Total Crop / Acre $216.95
OIL YIELD / ACRE (Gallons) 76.4
TOTAL CROP COST / Gallon $2.84
BioPro Inputs: $0.90
Total Cost / Gallon $3.74
REVENUES
Cost of diesel $2.89
Cost of B100 $3.23
Implied savings / (Loss) vs Diesel (0.85)

AND The Wedeberg's Have Cattle.

Protein Meal 860 lbs/acre
Protein Meal - Total Value/Acre $190.00
Total savings $1,520

  • Savings/Gallon of B100 Produced in a BioPro™ on 8 acres:
    • 611 Gallons x $2.89 of diesel not purchased = $1,766 (What he would have spent on diesel)
    • 611 gallons x 3.74 = $2285 what he DID spend on biodiesel.
    • ($519)
    • But Feed Revenue = $1520
    • plus $1520 of Protein Meal...
    • NET PROFIT OF $861
    • $1.52/gal

James Shindelar Farms

  • Location: Greenfield, Iowa
  • Acreage: 500
  • Crops: Corn & Soybean rotation.
  • Equipment: BioPro™ 380 & SpringPro T76 (He's making 100 gals every 29 hrs)
  • Number of gallons of diesel and/or biodiesel needed to run farm per year: 5,000 (10 gals/acre)
  • Number of gallons of biodiesel made and used per year: 8,000 (operating at 27% capacity)
  • Blend Percentage: B100 during spring, summer & most of fall. B2-B5 in winter.
  • Source: Jim buys 7300 gals. soybean oil from a bean processing plant in Creston, IO (20 miles away). He also picks up 700 gals per year of free WVO from local restaurants.
  • Costs: When soybean oil = 40 cents per lb., Jim pays…………….$3.04/gal
  • (Jim bought his soybean oil during "Fall lull" for 34 cents per lb….$2.58/gal)
  • Methanol: $1.48 per gallon (30 cents/gal).
  • Catalyst (NaOH): 9 cents/gal biodiesel produced.
  • Electricity and labor: 32 cents/gal biodiesel produced.
  • Total: $3.42/gal - factoring in 700 gals WVO
    • ($3.00gal)
    • Less 25% for taxes = $2.56 (SAVINGS OVER DIESEL = 25 cents/gal.) ( = $2.25 SAVINGS OVER DIESEL = 56 cents/gal.)
    • IF:the $1/gal federal tax credit is renewed, Jim's total will drop to $1.56/gal or $1.25 SAVINGS OVER DIESEL
    • $1.25/gal or $1.56 SAVINGS OVER DIESEL
 

Please contact Springboard Biodiesel if you'd like more information.

Related links:

1. Biodiesel Made on the Farm - The Bio-Energy Site, 2011

2. Animal Fat based biodiesel  - Biodiesel Magazine, 2009

3. Rendered Fats for Biodiesel Industry - National Rendering Association, 2008

4. Beef Tallow and Hydrogenated Oils in the BioPro - Springboard website