Nature gave us oil from algae; perhaps we should try Nature’s way again
Biodiesel from Canola
Oil – Canola Oil as Biofuel
Canola is a cultivated
variety of rapesee, and canola oilseeds are rich in Oil content ( 40%). The
interest in canola oil as feedstock for Biodiesel appears to be gaining
ground. A small group of farmers in Australia have started producing
biodiesel from canola oil for local use, and a company in North Dakota (USA)
in investing significantly to produce biodiesel using canola oil.
- Biodiesel from Canola Oil – University of Ballarat, Australia
- NDSU to Test Properties of Canola-based Biodiesel
- Canola Biodiesel – from CanolaInfo.org
- Bioenergy Biodiesel from Canola Oil (PDF)
- Canola Oil May Soon Burn in Engine Rather than Frying Pan - Nov., 2005 - A growing market for biodiesel fuels is heating up interest in canola among Texas producers. Canola's industrial use began as a lubricant for machinery during World War II. In the 1970s, it was developed more for human consumption and that's when Kansas State University began playing an active role. With the higher fuel prices, people are starting to look for alternative fuel sources and canola biodiesel is really catching on. Producers are shifting their attitudes also, realizing canola is a crop they might make more profit from than wheat....Read the full article from here @ AgNews
- Biodiesel from Canola Oil: Washington State - America's largest biodiesel plant is in Grays Harbor, Washington, and produces one million gallons of biodiesel from canola grown on Washington state farms. Imperium Renewables uses proprietary technology to produce biodiesel at a higher quality with a longer shelf life. Read more from this post @ Green Technology site
Content derived from
Wikipedia article on Canola
Canola - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In agriculture, Canola is a trademarked cultivar of genetically engineered rapeseed variants from which rapeseed oil is obtained. Also known as "LEAR" oil (for Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed), Canola oil was initially bred in Canada by Keith Downey and Baldur Stefansson in the 1970s.;
The word "canola" is derived from "Canadian oil, low acid" in 1978.
Once considered a specialty crop in Canada, canola has evolved into a major North American cash crop. Canada and the United States produce between 7 and 10 million metric tons (tonnes) of canola seed per year. Annual Canadian exports total 3 to 4 million metric tons of the seed, 700,000 metric tons of canola oil and 1 million metric tons of canola meal. The United States is a net consumer of canola oil. The major customers of canola seed are Japan, Mexico, China and Pakistan, while the bulk of canola oil and meal goes to the United States, with smaller amounts shipped to Taiwan, Mexico, China, and Europe.
Canola was developed through conventional plant breeding from rapeseed, an oilseed plant with roots in ancient civilization. The word "rape" in rapeseed comes from the Latin word "rapum," meaning turnip. Turnip, rutabaga, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, mustard and many other vegetables are related to the two canola species commonly grown: Brassica napus and Brassica rapa. The negative associations with the word "rape" in North America resulted in the more marketing-friendly name "Canola".
Hundreds of years ago, Asians and Europeans used rapeseed oil in lamps. As time progressed, people employed it as a cooking oil and added it to foods. Its use was limited until the development of steam power, when machinists found rapeseed oil clung to water- and steam-washed metal surfaces better than other lubricants. World War II saw high demand for the oil as a lubricant for the rapidly increasing number of steam engines in naval and merchant ships. When the war blocked European and Asian sources of rapeseed oil, a critical shortage developed and Canada began to expand its limited rapeseed production.
After the war, demand declined sharply and farmers began to look for other uses for the plant and its products. Edible rapeseed oil extracts were first put on the market in 1956-1957, but these suffered from several unacceptable characteristics. Rapeseed oil had a distinctive taste and a disagreeable greenish colour due to the presence of chlorophyll. It also contained a high concentration of erucic acid, suspected of causing cancer if ingested in large amounts. Feed meal from the rapeseed plant was not particularly appealing to livestock, due to high levels of sharp-tasting compounds called glucosinolates.
Rapeseed had been grown in Canada (mainly Saskatchewan) since 1936. Canadian plant breeders took up the challenge to improve the quality of the plant. In 1968, Dr. Baldur Stefansson of the University of Manitoba used selective breeding to develop a low erucic acid variety of rapeseed. In 1974 another variety was produced with both a low erucic acid content and a low level of glucosinolates; this was dubbed Canola, from Canadian Oil Low Acid.
A variety developed in 1998 is considered to be the most disease- and drought-resistant variety of Canola to date. Recent varieties such as this have been produced by gene splicing techniques.
Canola oil has been touted as a healthy oil due to its low saturated fat and high monounsaturated oil content - the latter almost 60% - and beneficial Omega-3 Fatty Acids profile. The Canola Council of Canada states it is completely safe and is the healthiest of all commonly used cooking oils. Traditional rapeseed oil contains higher amounts of erucic acid and glucosinolates, both of which were deemed undesirable for human consumption by the USDA. Erucic acid is implicated with cancer and rancidity and glucosinolates are goitrogenic. Canola oil reduces them to very low levels - 0.5-5% for erucic acid for example - without eradicating them completely.
Nonetheless, the oil generated controversy. In March 1996 John Thomas published an article, "Blindness, Mad Cow Disease and Canola Oil", in Perceptions magazine, implicating Canola oil with glaucoma and the Mad Cow Disease. This article was taken up, condensed and widely circulated in a story via emails. The industry condemns this as an email hoax and states its claims to be wholly unsubstantiated.
For many years, rapeseed oil was used for human consumption in Canada. Although the undesirable effects of glucosinolates and erucic acid were known, they were deemed an acceptable risk versus the many health benefits of rapeseed oil. Nonetheless, researchers attempted and were able to develop fully "double-zero" varieties by the 1980s without significant levels of those two compounds.
In Nexus Magazine, Volume 9, Number 5 (Aug-Sept 2002), however, dietitians Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary G. Enig published another article, called "The Great Con-ola", questioning the industry's marketing claims, stating that Canola oil 'has a number of undesirable health effects when used as the main source of dietary fats'. They cite many independent studies done in the late 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, which show animals fed on a pure Canola oil-based diet suffers from vitamin E deficiency, a decrease in blood platelets count, an increase in platelet size, and shortened life-spans. Canola oil also seemingly retards growth, which was why the FDA prohibited its use in infant formula. The authors state that most omega-3s in canola oil are transformed into trans fats during the deodorisation process, quoting a University of Florida study which found trans fat content in Canola oil to be as high as 4.6%. Trans fat-free canola alternatives have been developed, though they remain a minority in the market.
Today about 75% of the Canola crops planted in Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan are GM (genetically modified food) herbicide-tolerant varieties.
In 2004, North Dakota produced 91% of the Canola in the United States.
Compared with sunflower, corn, peanut, and many other oils, Canola has one of the lowest ratios of saturated to unsaturated fat, which has known health benefits.
The rapeseed blossom is a major source of nectar for honeybees.
Canola oil is a promising source for manufacturing biodiesel, a renewable alternative to fossil fuels.
The main price-discovery mechanism for worldwide canola
trade is the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange canola futures contract. Rapeseed is
traded on the Euronext exchange.
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