Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Grain Decanter Making Oil Easier to Use for Biodiesel Processing(ST9429-1)

Sheppard Grain, Inc.


Biodiesel is a renewable diesel fuel substitute made from new or used vegetable oils or animal fats. When made to standards defined by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), biodiesel can be sold in diesel transportation markets. Sheppard Grain buys and processes two million bushels of New York soybeans each year. Half are roasted, and the other half is processed to remove about one gallon of oil per bushel. The oil, which contains up to 20% solid particles, s currently sold out of state as an animal feed ingredient. A decanter would remove the solids, making the oil easier to use for biodiesel processing, and easing operation at Sheppard by eliminating buildup on storage tanks. Removed solids could be added to animal feed. The work will help a New York soybean processor make a more competitive oil product for use in biodiesel manufacturing. In recent years, one of New York’s three processors went out of business.

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Project Description

The proposer hoped to reduce particle content of the oil from 20% to 2% by installing a decanter.


The oil would be more competitive with out-of-state oil for New York biodiesel production. Sheppard could continue to expand capacity. The value of soybean oil would be increased by ½ - 1 cent per pound by using the decanter. The additional revenue would pay for the decanter in six years.

Project Results

Work included: 1) review processes at other soybean expeller facilities; 2) design a decanting and oil pumping system that includes a conveyor for the solid output stream; 3) install equipment and electrical components; and, 4) analyze oil output for particle content. Work was a success; the decanter is removing almost all of the solids (< 0.1%), and nearly half of the gums (reduced from 8.3% to 5.6% by weight) from the soybean oil. Plans are underway for the firm to potentially develop a biodiesel manufacturing operation on site, or possibly to sell its cleaner oil to other future New York State biodiesel producers.


Sheppard Grain, Inc.
1615 Maryland Street Rd
Phelps, NY 14532

Principle Investigator

Steve Sheppard

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Indigenous/Renewable Energy Resources

Technologies Types:

NYSERDA Contact Information

Judy Jarnefeld


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST9429-1

Last Updated: 11/18/2010