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Microbes can provide sustainable hydrocarbons for the petrochemical industry

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10 hours ago, Andrei Moutchkine said:

What way might I think? We discussed bagasse, corn stover and even bamboo elsewhere in this thread. All the reinforced grasses have the same problem - tough silicates. Which gum up burners and break woodchipping equipment. If the cellulose thus produced were higher quality, they'd pulp it or turn it into "Europellet" style retail fuel. But they can't, or at least not in an affordable way I am aware of.

A few years back, there was talk of GMO sugar beet that was to be more efficient than sugar cane even in tropical climes. Allegedly, this is what the Chinese bought out Syngenta for. Than, the rights to the product were quietly spun off to some seemingly insignificant Danish kolkhoz. Dunno what 's up with that? They didn't say they didn't succeed. Sugar beet leaves no problematic straw behind, only suitable animal fodder.

The cheaper you make ethanol, the more you can sell for human consumption. Why burn it, if you can drink it yourself. Is it a free market, or what?

Sugar cane bagasse is only ever burned in/at dedicated facilities at the sugar cane mills.  It's not suitable for general purpose use. the biggest problem is not silicates, or gumming up burners, but the fact that it's energy density is very low - similar to the debris left behind at a paper mill.  However if you already have a mill, then the stuff piles up pretty quickly, and it would be foolish not to use it where it's already 'lying around' for free.   

 

The market for 'human consumption' of ethanol is tiny compared to the fuel market.  It sells at a higher price, since it has to be safe and tasty to drink, but there simply isn't enough demand to make it worthwhile.  

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10 hours ago, Andrei Moutchkine said:

Speaking of which. Russia banned export of ammonia-based fertilizers till well into 2022, because the feedstock is natural gas. Those are the only ones that are made from "fossil fuels" AFAIK, the rest mined directly.

However, now that EU doesn't talk to Belarus anymore, Russia is also the overwhelmingly largest exporter of potassium variety (Uralkali + Belaruskali contraband)

https://www.nationmaster.com/nmx/ranking/potash-fertilizer-production

The only remaining beacon of hope for the free world appears to be Canada. I think the British tabloids are missing out on a great next story on the evils of the Putin regime here, but I am sure they'll get there in due time.

That is true, but nitrogenous fertilizers are by far the most important ones.  The 'big 3 fertilizers' of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium are 99% of the fertilizer business, and 90% of that is nitrogen.  Phosphorus and potassium need to be in the soil, and are used by plants in trace amounts, but fixed nitrogen breaks down after it is applied, and has to be renewed in the same amounts every year to be useful.    

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8 hours ago, ronwagn said:

Thanks for the details! I was just in Hawaii and they said that they are no longer able to burn sugar cane in the fields. Apparently none is grown for biofuel due to the green policies in Hawaii. They would benefit most from regular deliveries of LNG for electrical production. Maui has a few wind turbines which are an eyesore. Brazil uses a lot of dual fuel vehicles that use ethanol and gasoline. Some trifuel using natural gas if I remember correctly. 

Hawaii is a perfect example of why sugarcane isn't used for ethanol production there - the land space is limited, the fuel market is small, and it's to far away from anywhere to export the surplus easily.  At some future point in time if fuel prices were higher, or supply/delivery of fuel from the mainland were precarious it might make sense for Hawaii to get into ethanol production.  

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1 hour ago, Eric Gagen said:

Sugarcane is exothermic enough that you could make the fertilizer using the fuel from the crop as the feedstock for the fertilizer plant, and still have a net win.  However it's more profitable to use fertilizer made from natural gas as a feedstock for that process, because the fuel that results from growing sugarcane is a liquid hydrocarbon with a price premium on a net energy basis of ~ 5:1 over natural gas.  

You could not just use any odd "fuel from the crop" as feedstock, you need methane. Could it be that your are confusing the energy input for an actual feedstock that isn't burned, but used in the synthesis?

potassium.png

Or do you mean synthesizing methane via syngas first?

Edited by Andrei Moutchkine
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1 hour ago, Eric Gagen said:

That is true, but nitrogenous fertilizers are by far the most important ones.  The 'big 3 fertilizers' of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium are 99% of the fertilizer business, and 90% of that is nitrogen.  Phosphorus and potassium need to be in the soil, and are used by plants in trace amounts, but fixed nitrogen breaks down after it is applied, and has to be renewed in the same amounts every year to be useful.    

I think phosphate is the only really tight one that is running out, and most of it also in one place - Marocco.

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8 minutes ago, Andrei Moutchkine said:

You could not just use any odd "fuel from the crop" as feedstock, you need methane. Could it be that your are confusing the energy input for an actual feedstock that isn't burned, but used in the synthesis?

potassium.png

Or do you mean synthesizing methane via syngas first?

Synthesis first, but really, I was just looking at it from a net energy basis.  From a realistic point of view, it would probably never make sense to make nitrogen fertilizer from ethanol.  Natural gas is too cheap, and readily available for it to ever be worthwhile. 

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1 hour ago, Eric Gagen said:

The market for 'human consumption' of ethanol is tiny compared to the fuel market.  It sells at a higher price, since it has to be safe and tasty to drink, but there simply isn't enough demand to make it worthwhile.  

The Russian peoples would take it as a challenge, you know? They keep drinking antifreeze, suspecting that it is also ethanol denaturated by the regime on purpose. Well, has been known to happen elsewhere, too.

Leftovers from a paper mill burn like no tomorrow.

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5 minutes ago, Eric Gagen said:

Natural gas is too cheap, and readily available for it to ever be worthwhile. 

Nothing more EU subsidies couldn't solve! Still better than giving the money to the Polish :)

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11 minutes ago, Andrei Moutchkine said:

The Russian peoples would take it as a challenge, you know? They keep drinking antifreeze, suspecting that it is also ethanol denaturated by the regime on purpose. Well, has been known to happen elsewhere, too.

Leftovers from a paper mill burn like no tomorrow.

So does Bagasse from a cane mill.  I lived nearly 20 years in South Louisiana - a major sugar cane growing region.  During grinding season, when the sugar cane is being harvested and processed, nearly the entire local grid is run off the excess electricity from the mills, and they shut down the normal electric power plants for maintenance.  It's bulky though, just like wood waste.  You could in theory process it in some way to make it easy to transport, but why bother?  It's doing a good job right where it is at without the hassle of transportation.  

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21 minutes ago, Eric Gagen said:

So does Bagasse from a cane mill.  I lived nearly 20 years in South Louisiana - a major sugar cane growing region.  During grinding season, when the sugar cane is being harvested and processed, nearly the entire local grid is run off the excess electricity from the mills, and they shut down the normal electric power plants for maintenance.  It's bulky though, just like wood waste.  You could in theory process it in some way to make it easy to transport, but why bother?  It's doing a good job right where it is at without the hassle of transportation.  

Ha! The energy value of wood waste depends largely on it its moisture content. As I mentioned before, is Europellet-dry softwood quite the better anthracite coal.

Fun fact. "Faggot" is a traditional British unit of firewood twigs

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faggot_(unit)

Edited by Andrei Moutchkine

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3 hours ago, Andrei Moutchkine said:

Ha! The energy value of wood waste depends largely on it its moisture content. As I mentioned before, is Europellet-dry softwood quite the better anthracite coal.

Fun fact. "Faggot" is a traditional British unit of firewood twigs

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faggot_(unit)

It is - and I’m sure bagasse would be pretty high energy density too if it were processed this much but it’s not.  They toss it like a mixture of mulch and lawn clippings into giant bins, then feed it by screw into boilers. 

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10 hours ago, Eric Gagen said:

Synthesis first, but really, I was just looking at it from a net energy basis.  From a realistic point of view, it would probably never make sense to make nitrogen fertilizer from ethanol.  Natural gas is too cheap, and readily available for it to ever be worthwhile. 

Indeed, haven't found a single paper on ethanol-to-syngas, only a ton of syngas-to-ethanol research.

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13 hours ago, Eric Gagen said:

Hawaii is a perfect example of why sugarcane isn't used for ethanol production there - the land space is limited, the fuel market is small, and it's to far away from anywhere to export the surplus easily.  At some future point in time if fuel prices were higher, or supply/delivery of fuel from the mainland were precarious it might make sense for Hawaii to get into ethanol production.  

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2008-03-25/qld-farmers-invest-in-diesel-producing-trees/1082738

Compares favorably to sugarcane down under. One hectare enough to fuel average farm.

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4 hours ago, Andrei Moutchkine said:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2008-03-25/qld-farmers-invest-in-diesel-producing-trees/1082738

Compares favorably to sugarcane down under. One hectare enough to fuel average farm.

So, the oil companies just went out of business... 12,000 l/ha.   Uh huh. 

Lets see what the fount of all knowledge, wikipedia says:

Biodiesel use

The diesel tree produces terpene hydrocarbons in its wood and leaves, and this had led to interest in the search for sources of renewable energy.[1]: 10  According to early cited anecdotal reports, the tree could be tapped for 40 litres (11 US gal) of oil, and an acre of 100 mature trees could produce 25 barrels of oil yearly.[1]: 4  These reports were carried in 2007 by Australian media after an Australian citizen in Mackay, Queensland imported seeds of the plant in hopes of growing diesel fuel in Australia.[2] However, a 2003 study showed that the actual yields of oleoresin are considerably lower: small trees, with a diameter at breast height (DBH) of 35 centimeters, produce no oil at all; and medium sized trees (DBH between 55–65) produced more oil than large trees (DBH greater than 65). No tree in the study produced more than 1 litre (0.26 US gal) of fuel.[3] A 2006 study by Oliviera et al. agreed with the 2003 study, and further found that the best time to tap the trees was in spring.[1]: 10  Summarizing these findings, a report by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture stated: "[C. langsdorffii's] likelihood as an efficient producer of readily extractable oleoresins appears very slim."[4]

So, said trees actually make ZERO or at best 1 liter.... 🤣

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29 minutes ago, footeab@yahoo.com said:

So, the oil companies just went out of business... 12,000 l/ha.   Uh huh. 

Lets see what the fount of all knowledge, wikipedia says:

Biodiesel use

The diesel tree produces terpene hydrocarbons in its wood and leaves, and this had led to interest in the search for sources of renewable energy.[1]: 10  According to early cited anecdotal reports, the tree could be tapped for 40 litres (11 US gal) of oil, and an acre of 100 mature trees could produce 25 barrels of oil yearly.[1]: 4  These reports were carried in 2007 by Australian media after an Australian citizen in Mackay, Queensland imported seeds of the plant in hopes of growing diesel fuel in Australia.[2] However, a 2003 study showed that the actual yields of oleoresin are considerably lower: small trees, with a diameter at breast height (DBH) of 35 centimeters, produce no oil at all; and medium sized trees (DBH between 55–65) produced more oil than large trees (DBH greater than 65). No tree in the study produced more than 1 litre (0.26 US gal) of fuel.[3] A 2006 study by Oliviera et al. agreed with the 2003 study, and further found that the best time to tap the trees was in spring.[1]: 10  Summarizing these findings, a report by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture stated: "[C. langsdorffii's] likelihood as an efficient producer of readily extractable oleoresins appears very slim."[4]

So, said trees actually make ZERO or at best 1 liter.... 🤣

Hey. no plant is better than 1% efficient in solar energy conversion, Solar cells are much better than this. There is, however, no replacement for liquid diesel for heavier machinery and no replacement for aviation kerosene yet.

So, the diesel tree is still a wild plant which needs work. It does produce, but sporadically? Need to study it and make it produce always. It is one of the very few candidates with potential output higher than the oil palm.

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On 11/26/2021 at 8:51 PM, Andrei Moutchkine said:

From state-of-the art

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_biofuel_crop_yields

These compare favorably to oil palm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triadica_sebifera

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copaifera_langsdorffii

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millettia_pinnata

The last one is currently grown in India and Bangladesh, but does not appear to have a dependence on tropics. All are proper trees, not grasses. Though the last one is somehow also a variety of pea, so I am sure you can grow it instead of soy :)

Your table is 100% near fabrication.  Obvious lies.  Lets just take the most obvious of lies,... everything that grows where corn grows is better.... ALL grow on fields where corn grows and are VASTLY SUPERIOR according to your brain dead lying table...  If any of that were true, 50% of the corn grown specifically for Ethanol/oil products would NEVER BE grown.  And as I already posted elsewhere your diesel tree in said table actually produces ZERO or up to 1 liter at best per year and you can get maybe 100 such trees on an acre producing zero for 30 years before starting to produce and then drop back to ZERO after 30 years.  What factor that is off by is well over 1000...  Only 3 orders of magnitude.  A ***slight*** error...

PS: we have tables for Hemp, flax, rape verses corn.  Only in the best soil conditions can hemp/flax in terms of oil for diesel not ethanol, beat corn.  Everywhere else it is equal or worse.  Now modern genetics have not been applied to most of these crops like corn/soybeans have so... they should have room to grow in comparison.  Of course Corn after use in ethanol plants gets fed to the cows whereas the byproduct of say hemp, etc goes where???  They are more woody plants so unless we start raising millions upon millions of goats... we have a problem.  No one needs that much hemp fiber or hurd around. 

PPS: Yes, all nuts are superior for pretty much everything, as ANYTHING high in protein is superior for diesel production, the problem with your wikipedia table is their collection per acre/hectare is MASSIVELY off. 

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On 11/26/2021 at 8:35 PM, footeab@yahoo.com said:

Actually, there are several ways of farming where corn is grown on same land nearly every year.  Other ways the corn is only grown one out of ~4 or 5 years, but by going the regenerative agriculture route, total amount of production drops drastically and Ethanol as a fuel source from plant matter evaporates into Utopian delusions.  Remove Fertilizers from Fossil fuels and modern ag, DIES in VERY short period of time(4 years maximum)

One must feed the soil.  Monoculture does NOT do this at all.  Best folks have come across is a combination of twin skip rows combined with quick movement grazing techniques which "only" creates about a 50%-->30% reduction in plant matter grown over an entire multiyear cycle(at least 5 years or more of crop rotation). 

In short, pretending we will get fuels dedicated to a single plant source will NEVER WORK as we will NEVER have the concentration of grown plant matter in a single spot for this to work.  Now maybe the USA, parts of France/Nehterlands/Germany could do this with their massive waterway networks, but everyone else?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, lets not all fall down laughing now.  Even then we are talking a 50% reduction in fuels produced at even today's levels.

There is no need to worry about using only cellulose but it could become a major source if forests were properly taken care of. Forestry is a neglected science. 

Rapidly growing tree crops can be grown that remain alive and have the top branches trimmed off for cellulose. Such trees are grown in Europe and have been used for centuries by pruning the branches "pollarding." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollarding https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coppicing

Peat bogs create ponds when harvested. https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/renewable-fuel-burning-peat-zmaz75zwar

There are many other uses and sources for cellulose. 

https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/wood-pellet-market

https://www.energypelletsamerica.com/product/1-ton-pallet-fuel-pellets/

 

 

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Just now, footeab@yahoo.com said:

Your table is 100% near fabrication.  Obvious lies.  Lets just take the most obvious of lies,... everything that grows where corn grows is better.... ALL grow on fields where corn grows and are VASTLY SUPERIOR according to your brain dead lying table...  If any of that were true, 50% of the corn grown specifically for Ethanol/oil products would NEVER BE grown.  And as I already posted elsewhere your diesel tree in said table actually produces ZERO or up to 1 liter at best per year and you can get maybe 100 such trees on an acre producing zero for 30 years before starting to produce and then drop back to ZERO after 30 years.  What factor that is off by is well over 1000...  Only 3 orders of magnitude.  A ***slight*** error...

PS: we have tables for Hemp, flax, rape verses corn.  Only in the best soil conditions can hemp/flax in terms of oil for diesel not ethanol, beat corn.  Everywhere else it is equal or worse.  Now modern genetics have not been applied to most of these crops like corn/soybeans have so... they should have room to grow in comparison.  Of course Corn after use in ethanol plants gets fed to the cows whereas the byproduct of say hemp, etc goes where???  They are more woody plants so unless we start raising millions upon millions of goats... we have a problem.  No one needs that much hemp fiber or hurd around. 

PPS: Yes, all nuts are superior for pretty much everything, as ANYTHING high in protein is superior for diesel production, the problem with your wikipedia table is their collection per acre/hectare is MASSIVELY off. 

I am no agriculture specialist and have no means to challenge Wiki.

Having said that, corn is only grown for ethanol because the Feds mandate 10% ethanol in all gasoline sold retail. Unlike sugarcane (see above) it is energy-negative and would never be grown for fuel otherwise. Just your regular public works for the sake of jobs.

Sunflower and rapeseed give seeds, not nuts. Never heard about hemp grown for fuel. Flax oil is reactive and only sold at hippy stores for some wholesome hippy purposes, AFAIK. They keep it in the fridge. One use I know about is making traditional pig iron kitchenware non-stick, by burning it in with flax oil.

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31 minutes ago, Andrei Moutchkine said:

Having said that, corn is only grown for ethanol because the Feds mandate 10% ethanol in all gasoline sold retail. Unlike sugarcane (see above) it is energy-negative and would never be grown for fuel otherwise. Just your regular public works for the sake of jobs.

No all gasoline requires 10%, or any ethanol.  I can buy retail ethanol-free gasoline at several places here in Laramie.

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2 hours ago, Andrei Moutchkine said:

I am no agriculture specialist and have no means to challenge Wiki.

Having said that, corn is only grown for ethanol because the Feds mandate 10% ethanol in all gasoline sold retail. Unlike sugarcane (see above) it is energy-negative and would never be grown for fuel otherwise. Just your regular public works for the sake of jobs.

Sunflower and rapeseed give seeds, not nuts. Never heard about hemp grown for fuel. Flax oil is reactive and only sold at hippy stores for some wholesome hippy purposes, AFAIK. They keep it in the fridge. One use I know about is making traditional pig iron kitchenware non-stick, by burning it in with flax oil.

Corn is NOT fuel negative.  Do you just pull this out of your ass? --> Yes you are. 

Stop while you are behind. 

PS: Rape/Sunflower are not nuts --> Wow, you might be able to go on the show "are you smarter than a 4th grader"

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(edited)

4 hours ago, footeab@yahoo.com said:

Corn is NOT fuel negative.  Do you just pull this out of your ass? --> Yes you are. 

Stop while you are behind. 

PS: Rape/Sunflower are not nuts --> Wow, you might be able to go on the show "are you smarter than a 4th grader"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpEB6hCpIGM

Despite the name, this is mostly specific to US corn ethanol fuel

Edited by Andrei Moutchkine

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6 hours ago, ronwagn said:

There is no need to worry about using only cellulose but it could become a major source if forests were properly taken care of. Forestry is a neglected science. 

Rapidly growing tree crops can be grown that remain alive and have the top branches trimmed off for cellulose. Such trees are grown in Europe and have been used for centuries by pruning the branches "pollarding." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollarding https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coppicing

Peat bogs create ponds when harvested. https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/renewable-fuel-burning-peat-zmaz75zwar

There are many other uses and sources for cellulose. 

https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/wood-pellet-market

https://www.energypelletsamerica.com/product/1-ton-pallet-fuel-pellets/

 

 

Asylum in Finland, quick! EPA is dispatching armed agents as we speak!

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6 hours ago, turbguy said:

No all gasoline requires 10%, or any ethanol.  I can buy retail ethanol-free gasoline at several places here in Laramie.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_the_United_States

Says 10% share average reached in 2011, going for E15 now. This figure probably averages out some amount of waivers with E85 (85% ethanol)

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On 11/27/2021 at 1:49 AM, Andrei Moutchkine said:

Birdshit (guano) is pretty much wet mineral ash. There is nothing left in there to burn, not to speak of  gassing.

Do you have a separate collection for compostables, like grass left from mowing lawns? If yes, this is what they throw in there. No current biogas setup I am aware of works on pure refuse, only on a small fraction.

Unlikely that you get far making biogas with human or pig crap alone also, but you can burn these if they are dry enough. Works about the same as peat or lowest grade lignite. Interestingly enough, GreenPeace objects to trash incineration in only two countries - Russia and UK. In UK case, this appears to be due to availability of household-scale incinerators.

Fresh bird shit (poultry litter) is not 'wet mineral ash' - it has a high organic content and is quite suitable for anaerobic digestion

Minister Poots visits Stream BioEnergy Biogas Plant near Ballymena | Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (daera-ni.gov.uk)

Anaerobic Digestion of Chicken Waste Benefits from FITs | Waste Management World (waste-management-world.com)

bp to purchase RNG from CleanBay Renewables | Bioenergy Insight Magazine (bioenergy-news.com)

-----------------

Pig manure

PigProgress - UK: Pig manure biogas plant under construction

--------------------

The compost element from many doorstep collections now goes to biogas plants. 

-------------------------------------------------

In regard to human sewage most large sewage works in the Uk are energy self sufficient from their biogas operations - the gas generates electricity. The waste heat is used to heat the digester tanks.

Biogas boiler saves over 70,000 litres of diesel | Newsroom | Thames Water

Anaerobic Digestion, biogas and the Water Industry - Water Industry Journal

 

 

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16 hours ago, Andrei Moutchkine said:

I am no agriculture specialist and have no means to challenge Wiki.

Having said that, corn is only grown for ethanol because the Feds mandate 10% ethanol in all gasoline sold retail. Unlike sugarcane (see above) it is energy-negative and would never be grown for fuel otherwise. Just your regular public works for the sake of jobs.

Sunflower and rapeseed give seeds, not nuts. Never heard about hemp grown for fuel. Flax oil is reactive and only sold at hippy stores for some wholesome hippy purposes, AFAIK. They keep it in the fridge. One use I know about is making traditional pig iron kitchenware non-stick, by burning it in with flax oil.

The figures for rapeseed climatic zones are BS. 

That table suggests it can only be grown in the tropics FFS. 

The Romans introduced rapeseed to the UK because it was the only plant cold tolerant enough to grow in the climate

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