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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

First Advisor

Lin Wei


Vegetable oil, an alternative source to produce biofuel, has been attracting much attention by researchers due to concerning environmental impact, national energy security, finite fossil fuel reserves and increasing world’s population. The advantages of using non-food vegetable oil for biofuel production include low nitrogen content, high heating value and low cost without competition to food market. The purpose of this study was to develop a cost effective and efficient process to produce high quality hydrocarbon biofuel from non-food oilseeds. The process includes two steps: oil extraction from oilseeds and upgrading the produced oil to hydrocarbon biofuel for future bio-jet fuel production. Cold press is a cost effective and efficient method to extract vegetable oil from various oilseeds. Oil extraction from several non-food oilseeds including camelina, canola, sunflower and flax was carried out using a cold press machine (M70 Oil Press) in the study of this dissertation. The oil extraction recovery of these oilseeds was 71.92 – 89.74%. The highest oil extraction recovery for each oilseed was obtained when the oil extraction press frequency controlling the machine’s screw rotation speed was 15 Hz. The different oil extraction press frequencies had a certain influence on the physicochemical properties of the vegetable oil produced. Cold press is an efficient method for oil extraction from these oilseeds. Catalytic cracking of the vegetable oil was carried out using a fixed-bed reactor. Important parameters including catalyst activity, reaction temperature and liquid hourly space velocity were studied for the yield and quality of hydrocarbon biofuel. The synthesized catalysts were characterized using XRD, FT-IR, SEM, TEM, BET and NH3- TPD. Loading Zn to ZSM-5 could provide additional acid sites and the optimum Zn concentration to ZSM-5 was 20 wt.%, at which the highest hydrocarbon biofuel yield from camelina oil was obtained. After upgrading, some of the vegetable oil physicochemical properties such as higher heating value and viscosity were improved. The reaction temperature had a certain influence on the yield and quality of hydrocarbon biofuel. The optimum conditions for camelina oil upgrading were a combination of reaction temperature of 550 °C, liquid hourly space velocity of 1.0 h-1 and oil extraction press frequency of 15 Hz. Non-condensable gas mainly contained light hydrocarbons (C1 - C5), CO, CO2 and H2. The distillation residual could be recycled and the used catalyst could be regenerated for further upgrading.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Hydrocarbons Biomass energy Oilseeds Catalytic cracking


Includes bibliographical references (pages 200-221)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright