Create Your Own Biodiesel on Your Farm?

Create Your Own Biodiesel on Your Farm?

December 8, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn (RFDTV) - Tennessee State University is bringing biodiesel straight to the farm.  RFD-TV's Casie Mason headed to the university's Agricultural Research and Education Center to find out about this unique outreach program that teaches farmers about making their own on-farm biodiesel.

"This is something where they can grow it, and they can make it themselves and they can use it on the farm," says Jason de Koff, an assistant professor in agronomy and soil science at Tennessee State University.  The school's mobile demonstration trailer - think of it as a workshop on wheels - is making waves across the volunteer state.
"We were awarded a grant by the USDA back in 2012," de Koff explains. "The grant was to create a demonstration that we could use to talk to farmers about producing their own biodiesel on the farm."

TSU created this mobile biodiesel demonstration trailer at the university's Agricultural Research and Education Center...where they even grow their own canola. 

"The reason why we wanted to do this," says de Koff, "is because we've estimated that anywhere between 1% and 3% of the farm acreage can be devoted to growing some of the oilseed crops for biodiesel production. The farmer can produce enough biodiesel from that to power their diesel equipment for the entire year."

"The canola seeds are stored here inside this bin and then they funnel their way down through this tunnel on the equipment. You can seed that the seeds are then pressed for their oil, dripping down into this container. Down here on the end is everything that's left over. Something that can break off and be used in your animal feed. Once we've got the oil from the seed press, we can take it and put it in this biodiesel processor. This is where the actual conversion and actual production of biodiesel takes place."

Overall the cost to produce biodiesel is $2.90 per gallon. But de Koff says farmers can apply for a government grant called the Rural Energy for America program to help.  It pays for 25% of the equipment costs.  

TSU's Mobile Biodiesel Trailer has been featured at several other events like the state FFA convention, Tennessee State Fair, and Ag Day on the Hill.  The outreach program even offers workshops. If you're in Tennessee and would like to have the trailer come to your event, contact Tennessee State University.

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