RAREL and Oil Seed Extraction

Edible Oil Seed Processing

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The Future ~ Oilseed

Common Oil Seeds in Europe

high shear domestic socket Oil extraction from plants has grown in Europe and will continue to grow. Europe enjoys a diversity of climates, which enable many species to flourish. Thousands of varieties are cultivated for the perfume and flavour industries but the food and fuel industries are likely to account for the greatest tonnages during the 21st century. Canola (rape), olive, sunflower and grape seeds are therefore likely to remain strong features in the rural landscape of Europe for the foreseeable future.

RAREL's Interest in Oil Seed Processing

Many villages throughout Europe are surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and fields of sunflower or canola. Sadly, a diminishing proportion of seed from those landscapes is processed and consumed locally. It is much more common for seed to be taken to central drying areas, from which it may then travel hundreds of kilometres further for oil extraction. Oil may then travel across several countries before it is processed into something else. In the case of grape seeds, these may be composted or otherwise disposed of with no thought for the human food chain, although grapeseed oil rivals olive oil for cooking purposes and is preferred over olive oil by many gourmets. RAREL supports localisation and rural economies, wherever it can. It can therefore be no surprise that RAREL wants to render affordable the machines needed for local drying and the local production of seed oil.

Oil Screw Presses

Oil screw presses are a twilight technology but are still widely used for smaller production volumes of seed oil. Sadly, the Archimedes' screw central to the operation of an oil screw press, is difficult to make with precision and even more difficult to machine finsh perfectly. The result is usually a machine which is wasteful, inefficient and which clogs regularly. It is not therefore wise to buy such a machine if you do not want to employ a machine minder to feed and cajole it, from the moment it is switched on, until it is switched off.

The Oil Seed Needs of Small and Agro Businesses

Farming business people and small enterprises need machines which minimise head count, whilst maximising value for money. A machine which, by virtue of its unpredictability and unreliability, requires a full time operator to keep it working, is a recipe for frustration and lost profits. Whilst the processing of oil seeds on the premises may seem a promising way to diversify and add value, unless the chosen machines can work unattended, then the added value will be hard to realise. The oil screw press requires a serious re-think, if the needs of small agro-businesses and entrepreneurs are to be met in this business sector.

The Current Focus of RAREL Research into Oil Seed Processing

RAREL is researching umanned seed processing capability for small and rural businesses, as well as for householders and home owners. This implies equipment that is powerful, but which connects readily to the domestic electricity supply. We are looking for senior experts in this field who might be keen to write a Builder Owner Manual for us under a pseudonym and participate actively in the ongoing research. The research will encompass solvent extraction of oil but will not encourage it for small businesses, or for the food chain.

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