July 05, 2021

Food, Fuel and Carbon Credits

By EduTransfer Design Associates and Haywire Creative for The Canadian Farm Business Management Council.

Oilseed Works has invented a unique process for producing food, fuel and carbon credits from oilseed crops.

What started as an industrial hemp venture more than 15 years ago, is now a major oilseed food and fuel production system for Oilseed Works Inc. of Barrie, Ontario. Contracting most of the crop from Ontario and the prairies, the main products are flour, plus oil for food, biofuels, cosmetics, paints and coatings, and other markets.

“Our extensive research into industrial hemp showed potential across different industry sectors, but the derivatives from the oilseed captured our attention,” explains Gregory Herriott, General Manager. “Hemp oil has many unique food and nutraceutical properties.” Although they searched internationally for hemp seed oil extraction processes, Oilseed Works ended up having to invent a process, which has become the industry standard today. “This process produces quality cold pressed oils and is what we term “the HEMPOLA® Method,” says Herriott. “We also invented hemp flour, and under the brand Flour Power™, we produce hemp, sunflower and flax flours, which can be used in any recipe at substitution rates of 5 % to 25 % or more.”

“When we launched the flour products and protein powder supplement products, we were continually faced with an oversupply of oil to meet the crushing demand for flour production,” explains Herriott. “We did some research and started a small pilot plant to produce biodiesel from the oil for use on our farm, and discovered it had a lot of potential. We now have a system that produces food and fuel from every harvest.”

Flour Power™ – the System

Flour Power is more than just products, it is also a patent pending process. “Although a main objective for Flour Power™ is to grow the retail line of products, we are also interested in making the process available,” says Herriott. The Flour Power™ system makes a lot of sense from both an economic and agronomic perspective, and is comprised of three components:

  • oil extraction equipment,
  • a unique and cost effective flour milling operation, and
  • a biodiesel reactor.

The system requires a small footprint of 5000 square feet and a $1 million investment to process the annual harvest of 1000 acres. “Using flax as an example, 1000 acres will produce 300 tonnes of flour and 125,000 litres of oil,” explains Herriott. “If farmers use pure biodiesel in their equipment to farm those 1000 acres, they will only use 15,000 litres of oil, leaving a surplus of 110,000 litres of oil to be marketed into an assortment of industry sectors.” Although most new farm machinery is fully biodiesel compatible, one market obstacle for use in cars and trucks is that original equipment manufacturers (OEM) currently limit the use of biodiesel to between 5 to 20 %, or warranties will be invalid.

For each 1000 acres of harvest, based on current market figures for raw materials, the revenue realized for both flour and oil harvest will be $750,000 per harvest, which means it will not take long to pay off the investment. Herriott notes that the system can be sized to any scale, and by doubling an investment to $2 million in equipment would provide a production platform capable of handling 5000 acres of production.

“We are working towards another concept of being able to provide companies, such as bakeries, with a contract for flour and biodiesel for their delivery vehicles,” explains Herriott. “For example, a bakery replacing 5 % of their total flour volume with flax flour would also be able to provide 50 % of their annual biodiesel requirements for their trucks. These contracts would allow companies to commit to food and fuel production and earn carbon credits as well. Even small inclusion rates of Canadian Flour Power™ products, provides a great environmental option and marketing message for companies.”

“Ultimately we would like to see the Flour Power™ system installed in various parts of the world where hunger and self-sustainability are issues,” says Gregory Herriott. “This system will work with a host of oilseeds and would provide food and fuel from every harvest. We are incredibly excited about the opportunities.”

Original article here