CO2 neutral rape seed oil from Egeskov Oil Mill

Balslev Automation has designed and delivered Denmark's first fully automatic plant producing rape oil approved for food as well as bio fuel for cars and heating. The entire plant can be remotely controlled e.g. via iPhone from the field.

For the benefit of the environment and to cut down heating costs with 50% the Castle of Egeskov at the Danish island of Funen began producing rape seed oil for heating purposes in 2006. The investment was paid back in less than one year, and soon the production was extended to also include bio fuel for cars plus vegetable oil for food production.

Industrial production of rape oil as CO2 neutral bio fuel  

At first, the production was intended for their own consumption only and based on Egeskov's own crops. However, the owner of the Egeskov Castle, Michael Ahlefeldt, soon saw a larger market for rape as bio fuel. In 2007 he therefore established the Egeskov Oil Mill and a large scale industrial plant, from which he is now exporting to other countries like e.g. Germany.

Cold pressed rape oil - a healthy alternative for food production

In 2010 Egeskov Oil Mill was also, as one of the first in Denmark, approved to produce rape oil for food production. Thanks to its content of unsaturated fatty acids, the rape oil is suitable for e.g. deep frying - and a far more healthy alternative to the oils traditionally used for deep frying.

The rape mill produces approx. 1,000 tons of rape oil and 2,000 tons of rape pellets a year. As demand increases, the scalable plant can be extended with additional capacity of up to 6,000 tons oil/year.  

Fully automatic, scalable plant in cleanroom class  

Balslev Automation was responsible for the design, specification of the power supply, programming and automation solutions for the fully automatic plant, which comprises 7 silos, a drying furnace, 4 oil presses and a filtration unit. Our turnkey delivery included, among other things:

  • Process control incl. feeding, transport, cleansing, pre-heating, stirring, pressing, filtration, storage and drainage
  • Ultra sound sensors in the silos plus speed and quantity sensors
  • Temperature monitoring plus control of input and alarms 
  • Level sensors in the storage and buffer silos, which controls and, if needed, interrupt the preceding and forward going processes
  • Cooling
  • Monitoring by use of a SCADA system.  

A thorough precipitation and filtration process ensures that the cold pressed rape oil obtains a sufficiently high, homogeneous quality, which complies with the German DIN norm's requirements regarding purity. This is paramount if you want to use rape oil as bio fuel in oil burners for heating and in cars without any problems.

In the design of the oil mill's process plant, Balslev Automation's engineeers utilized methods and experience known from industrial automation.

No waste – process residue is turned into rape pellets of high caloric value

The dry residue from the rape oil refining process is also sold as bio fuel, but in the form of rape pellets with a very high caloric value and rape cakes for animal feeding. The pellets are of cause also used to cover the oil mill's own consumption of sustainable CO2 neutral energy. 

The entire production from input to final rape seed oil can be monitored and remotely controlled from any where - from a computer with Internet access, a PDA (personal digital assistent) or an iPhone e.g. from the rape field.

Cars running on rape seed oil

Egeskov Oil Mill also participates in a research project, where the Technical University of Denmark, DTU, and the Danish Technological Institute, DTI, together with the Danish City of Odense and DHL are testing the properties of cold pressed rape seed oil as fuel for a number of large vans, trucks and busses.

Unlike diesel, rape oil is an environmental friendly alternative to fossil fuel, which offers several advantages: 

  • A lower content of sulfur and fewer emissions, especially SOx
  • Nontoxic: Omits no combustible or toxic fumes during refuelling
  • Non-polluting in case of a spill.

The Danish City of Hilleroed is also testing out rape seed oil's properties in vehicles.



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