Biofuel Machine

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Frequently Asked Questions-Biofuel Machine

Q: How long have GEMCO been involved in biofuel machine equipment?

A: GEMCO have been producing biofuel machine for 20 years - until this year these have been destined for export markets in Africa and the Far East, where they are used by village cooperatives and small scale rural industries for cooking oil production. The model XP100 is a derivative of one of these export machines - redesigned specifically to meet the demand for on-farm production of vegetable oil for conversion to Bio-Diesel in EU markets.

Q: How does an biofuel machine work?

A: The seed is placed under increasing pressure as it is conveyed through a tapered chamber. Because of the high level of compression (and pressure generated temperature) oil is expelled through a set of rings - the residual solid matter is conveyed to the end of the press and falls away as away in thin strips of ‘oilcake’.

Q: How much oil do you usually get from one tonne of rape?

A: Approx. 250 to 300 litres of oil depending upon the original oil content/moisture content/ cleanliness of the sample.

Q: How much rapeseed can the press crush in one hour?
A: Approx. 150 kgs / hour

Q: What can I do with the crushed oilcake?

A: This can be sold/used as animal feed. There may also be a developing market for use as a solid fuel.

Q: Does Ambient Temperature affect results?

A: Oil extraction rates are dependant on temperature generated within the press and it therefore is true that if the seed is introduced into the machine at 0 oC, extraction efficiency will be affected to some extent.

Q: How clean a sample of rape is needed?

A: Our main concern is to avoid foreign objects that would damage the press - ie, stones / tramp metal. (we recommend the fitting of magnets in feed hopper). However, excessive levels of straw, trash etc will increase wear and may cause blockages.

Q: How much electrical power do I need?

A: The press is powered by a 9.2 kW 3 phase motor.

Q: How much will the press cost to run?

A: Electrical costs run at about 65p/hr

Q: Can I run an biofuel machine from a generator?

A: Yes, you will need a generator of at least 20 KVA. If the press is fitted with a speed controller it is important that a voltage monitoring system is installed to avoid damage to the inverter.


Q: Can the press run unattended?

A: With the correct sensors fitted and an appropriate control panel an biofuel machine process system will maintain a supply of seed to the press and will automatically shut down if there is a problem. (See diagram below)


Q: What do the different sensors in the diagram do?

A:Sensor 1 - High-level probe in hopper stops filling machine when hopper is full

Sensor 2 - Low-level probe with a timer starts filling machine if hopper is empty.

- If hopper remains empty after delay – press shuts down because no seed available.

Sensor 3 - Pressure pad senses an internal blockage in machine and press shuts down.

Sensor 4 - Flow switch senses consistent flow of cake meal – if no flow - press shuts down.

Sensor 5 - High-level safety float switch - if oil level builds up in hopper – press shuts down.

Sensor 6 - Low-level float switch switches pump on and off to control level in oil tank.

Q: Do I need an oil pump to transfer oil away?

A: No, if the press is mounted on a platform oil can flow by gravity into an IBC or tank.

Q: Do I need a cake auger?

A: Again, no, as above if the press is mounted on a platform cake can fall away by gravity

Q: What do I have to do to start the press?

A: The press should be free of all product, with no oilseed in the hopper. Release any pressure in the chamber and start press motor. Introduce the product into the screw and increase pressure to the desired level.

Q: How do I control the extraction rate of oil?

A: Tightening the boss at the inlet end of the press increases the pressure. We recommend that the press be fitted with a speed controller so that the screw speed can also be adjusted- the condition of the meal is the best visual guide to the rate of extraction of oil. Generally if the cake is coming off in thin flakes -oil extraction is at an optimum.

Q: What do I do to stop the press?

A: Run hopper empty of product and when chamber is empty release pressure ready for next start up.

Q: What oils can be extracted?

A: Rapeseed, Sunflower, linseed, and most other oil-bearing seeds.

Q: Where do I store pressed oil?

A: IBCs are a flexible and simple means of storage. But larger tanks could be used.

Q: Does the oil need to be filtered?

A: Generally, in our experience any solid matter in the oil settles out naturally within 2-3 days.

Q: What can oils be used for?

A: -Production of Biodiesel (Rapeseed Methyl-Esther, or RME)

-As a fuel in correctly converted engines

-As edible cooking oil

-Production of bio-friendly lubrication oils

Q: How can I produce Biodiesel from this oil?


Q: How much maintenance is required?

A: The bearings and bushes and the adjusting block should be lubricated, and the screw and rings inspected every week. Gearbox oil should be changed every 6 months.

Q: What is the cost of spare parts?

A: Spare set of screw sections costs roughly £300 (depending upon the model of press)

Spare set of rings will cost approx. the same

Q: How long will the screw sections last before replacement?

A: approximately 300 tonnes depending upon the cleanliness of the sample.

Q: How long will the rings last before replacement?

A: approximately 600 tonnes depending upon the cleanliness of the sample.

Q: Will a press system fit into my building?

A: The sketch below shows a typical layout with dimensions. Of course there are many different variations and we would be pleased to discuss the best layout for your needs.

Contact Christine with MSN
(biofuel machine)
Contact Amy with MSN
(Wood Pellet Mill)
Contact Kelly with MSN
(Biomass Briquette Plant )


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