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harvesting sunflower oil yourself

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14187
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
This is a fantastic article explaining what sunflower seed to shop for, how to seperate the shells in large quantity, how to make an oil press, etc.


http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/oilpress.html



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Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
fascinating. I have considered growing sunflower seeds because of the superb animal feed. I figured I could allow my goats to forage the stalks and leaves after harvest and have seeds in hulls for both human and animal consumption to use as a concentrate. I always assumed that extracting the oil would be too time consuming on a small scale basis. I guess I was wrong! This makes and acre of sunflower look even more appealing! It looks as though the mighty sunflower deserves some serious consideration.


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"One cannot help an involuntary process. The point is not to disturb it. - Dr. Michel Odent
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14187
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
So if you have lots of lard - how much oil do you suppose a family would use in a year?  A gallon?
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
looks like you kinda have to be a mechanic to get that thing made..to press the oil..i'd rather eat the seeds..although i do like sunflower oil i prefer olive oil..and can't grow them here.


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Nicholas Covey


Joined: Oct 09, 2008
Posts: 178
Location: Missouri/Iowa border
I actually ordered some oilseed sunflowers this year. Ive got a row of them in the ground. We'll See how they do and I'll report back if it's a success.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14187
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Quittrack wrote:
I actually ordered some oilseed sunflowers this year. Ive got a row of them in the ground. We'll See how they do and I'll report back if it's a success.


Sweet!

Take pictures!

Nicholas Covey


Joined: Oct 09, 2008
Posts: 178
Location: Missouri/Iowa border
Nothing to see but mulch right now. (we're in zone 4 here and spring was kinda late anyhow). As soon as I have something to show, I will.
Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
are they up! I planted some eating type sunflowers here and there througout my garden but like many other things I have planted here it appears that they never even pushed up through the ground  I guess will have to try again. I am having much better luck with some of the resown things, maybe the problem was all the rain.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
i'm kinda in zone 4/5 here too..my sunflowers from the bird seed have sprouted all over..but they aren't big yet..we had a hard freeze last week, but didn't hurt them at all.

i too think the press looks rather complicated
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Yes, that does look overly complicated.

I'm imagining a press that's just strong cord (fishing line?  50 strands of 150 lb test adds up to the 3 tons from the article...) laced back and forth between two toothed wheels, and a tube of cheesecloth in the center.  With one wheel fixed and a lever on the other, twisting will squeeze the contents, like wringing laundry.

You'd want the wheel teeth to be hooks facing away from each other, and to be smooth enough for some slippage to equalize tension.  Some careful forethought with the rules of simple machines would help to choose proper dimensions.

One nice feature is that the cords get closer together as pressure increases, so that at the end of pressing the cheesecloth doesn't have to span much of a gap.  Another is that screw action will pull the two wheels together as wringing action brings the walls in, so that not much work is done to shear the mash...most of it will go directly to compression.  Unless I'm missing something, these forces will balance themselves out if all you do is twist. 

A bushing that lets the axle of the free wheel spin and slide, and a rope or something to hold the lever in place, and you're done.


"the qualities of these bacteria, like the heat of the sun, electricity, or the qualities of metals, are part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men.  They are manifestations of the laws of nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none." SCOTUS, Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kale Inoculant Co.
            


Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 27
The press is actually one of the most simple to make. It is used here in Indonesia very often to make VCO (Virgin Coconut Oil). All it is, is a solid stand with a plate, a cylinder and a bottle jack. You fill the cylinder up put it on the stand and put the jack in then use the jack to press out the oil. Hardest part is making the cylinder though here in Indo we have the advantage of workshops that will make what ever you ask.
jeremiah bailey


Joined: May 05, 2009
Posts: 343
Anyone with a welder and metal cutting tools can build the frame of the press. The cylinder can be a length of steel pipe with a plate welded on to close one end. A welding shop should be able to do this relatively cheaply. All they should need is the materials and to look at the description and pictures in the article. I'd estimate $50-75 US for the frame and cylinder, give or take some for the price of steel. The 3-ton jack can be had at most auto parts, hardware, or tool stores for about $10-15 US. You should be able to multi purpose the jack and have it available for other uses as well.


"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." - Helen Keller
--
Jeremiah Bailey
Central Indiana
manitoulin mary


Joined: Feb 14, 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Manitoulin Island, Ontario zone 5a
My genius friend, Mat Redsell, presses literally tonns of sunflower oil in his backyard shed in Port Burwell, Ontario. He runs his car on it , uses it to run heaters and the cookstove  in his house, and used to make alot of biodesil out of it, but he is getting away from the biodesil now.-too toxic

He is interested in selling in his local area food grade sunflower oil from sunflowers grown on his neighbor's farm  - currently working through the health regs on that.

He has 2 really big but simple oil presses and runs them off of solar power. I think he separates the oil from the pulp using the spin cycle of an old washing machine that he converted to the purpose.

He also built his own windmill and is constantly inventing a variety of sustainable living thingamabobs, like sunken passive solar greenhouses and  commercial cargo bicycles.  He grows nearly all his own food on a city lot in a generally permaculture way and is a champion of the urban chicken.

Check out his website at www. continuo.com. I am sure he would be willing to talk to serious sunflower oil pressers or wanbe pressers.

Mary


Working for the earth is not a way to get rich; it is a way to be rich.
-Paul Hawkin
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
manitoulin mary wrote:he is getting away from the biodesil now.-too toxic


Interesting. If he made it with moonshine rather than wood alcohol, I think it wouldn't be much more toxic than wine.

Once your digestive enzymes lyse all the ester bonds, you get back whatever alcohol had been put in there. I think your body can make up for the missing glycerine just fine, and most people are OK with reasonable accidental exposure to ethanol.
manitoulin mary


Joined: Feb 14, 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Manitoulin Island, Ontario zone 5a
Actually, Mat is concerned about the chemical ingredients other than the sunflower oil he has to use in order to make the biodiesil, as well as the toxic left over byproducts. This process is not earth friendly.Also, it may well be that a time will come in the not-so-distance when the needed chemical ingredients are not easily available.

Sunflower oil itself can be made from all natural, safe ingredients.This is ,of course, ignoring what went into mining and making the metal parts of the machines used, etc.
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
manitoulin mary wrote:
Actually, Mat is concerned about the chemical ingredients other than the sunflower oil he has to use in order to make the biodiesel, as well as the toxic left over byproducts.


Yeah, I was discussing the wood alcohol (or methyl alcohol, among other names), which is the major other ingredient. The only other ingredient is lye (or a similar catalyst), and the byproducts are glycerine and soap.

All I meant to say is that, done right, it could be a very earth-friendly process, using only local agricultural products.
NYVillager McCoy


Joined: Feb 23, 2010
Posts: 1
Location: Ithaca, NY
Brenda Groth wrote:
looks like you kinda have to be a mechanic to get that thing made..to press the oil..


If you have more money that time and/or welding equipment, I just discovered an off-the-shelf product that can do this (and also pumpkin seeds, and others).  I haven't tried it, so this is not an endorsement, just for info:
http://www.piteba.com/eng/index_eng.htm

Greg Nelson
rockguy Hatfield


Joined: Dec 20, 2009
Posts: 148
That looks like a sturdy, simple machine. How much is 100.95 eu in US dollars, I wonder?
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14187
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Wow, I think each one of those inventions would make a for a good thread here. 
 
 
subject: harvesting sunflower oil yourself
 
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