How to Press Oil for Making Biodiesel


Process oilseed-type sunflower seeds in a blender until they form a fine meal. Oilseed varieties do not need to be hulled before blending.


Heat the sunflower seed meal in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until it reaches 170 degrees. Stir the mixture every five minutes.


Place sunflower seed meal in the oil press. Press the meal until all oil is extracted.


Filter the freshly pressed oil through a 0.5 micron filter to remove fine particles of seed and hull. Micron filtering of 0.5 is acceptable for biodiesel production without further filtering.


Store the filtered sunflower oil in a closed container for further processing. Clean, clearly labeled gasoline cans work well for this purpose.

Tips and Warnings

  • It is not absolutely necessary to heat the sunflower seed meal before pressing, but failing to do so will result in roughly a 50\% reduction in oil production.
  • Confectionary (edible seed) varieties of sunflower may be used for oil production, but the seeds must be hulled before being ground into meal. Oil yields will also be lower.
  • Most commercial oil crops are processed into oil using industrial solvents that are not practical for the home producer. However, oilseed sunflower varieties (as opposed to varieties used for human consumption of seeds) lend themselves well to small scale mechanical oil production, producing around three ounces of oil per pound of seed.

    Home oil presses can be purchased ready-made or built using a welded metal frame supporting a three-ton jack, which is used to press oilseed inside a purpose-built piston with holes in the outside wall to release the oil.