Victorian mixed farmer Steven Hobbs has reduced his on-farm consumption of mineral diesel by 80% by using biodiesel produced from his mustard and canola crops.
Break crops offer multiple products
Steven grows a variety of cereal, legume and oilseed crops, and runs Merino sheep and prime lambs.
5%–7% of his cropping area is dedicated to producing fuel.
The mustard and canola are break crops for his farming system and would not otherwise be used for food.
Steven’s small biodiesel plant can also produce biogas, which he uses for heating and for running a generator to produce electricity.
The crops also produce high-quality stock food and reduce the financial risk of his cropping enterprise.
How the process works
Steven uses continuous-screw oilseed expellers to cold press the oil from the seeds, which results in two products:
- vegetable oil
- oilseed meal, or ‘press cake’.
To use crude vegetable oil in place of diesel, Stephen installed a dual fuel system which preheats the vegetable oil to an optimum temperature prior to combustion.
Press cake is a high protein alternative to legumes for stock feed.
Press cake can also be turned into liquid fertiliser.
In the anaerobic digestion process that converts the press cake to fertiliser, biogas is also produced, which Steven uses for heating or for running a generator to produce electricity.
Cost of farm-grown biodiesel
Find out more
Decentralised energy production [PDF 1.2 KB] is Steven’s Nuffield scholarship study about bioenergy in farming.
Biodiesel, farming for the future is a paper that Steven presented at the 2003 Australian Agronomy Conference [Word 176 kb].
Visit BE Bio-Energy, Yarrock Oils, Steven’s website.