Oilseed biorefinery

The oilseed biorefinery uses the mild EthaNa process for processing oilseeds, which is performed at ambient pressure and a maximum of 70°C to avoid protein denaturation and other quality-reducing reactions.

Complete utilization of seed ingredients by mild extraction process

In this way, the process enables a holistic utilization of the raw materials and provides product fractions with higher quality compared to conventional industrial processes. In addition to the extraction of high-quality vegetable oils, the processing of protein-rich fractions in particular contributes to the increase in added value.

In addition, a pure hull fraction as well as other valuable molecules are obtained from the oilseeds, which can be used for a wide variety of applications.

EthaNa® pilot plant

De-hulling system
© Fraunhofer IGB
De-hulling system

De-hulling pilot plant

Prior to the EthanNa® pilot plant, there is a de-hulling pilot plant, in which the hulls are separated from the seeds. This fraction of hulls can, for instance, be used as a raw material for insulation material. At the same time, the proportion of hulls in the fractionated rapeseeds is reduced, which has a positive effect on their further processing.


EthaNa® ethanol extraction pilot plant

In the EthaNa® pilot plant, the rapeseeds are dispersed in ethanol and ground before the oil is separated from the rapeseeds with the help of a screw press.

The obtained oil is separated from the ethanol phase. The remaining rapeseed is further ground and the remaining oil is separated from the solid phase in a multi-stage extraction process using a decanter. The obtained oil is already in pre-raffinate quality.

The solid obtained in the decanter, the rapeseed concentrate, is rich in proteins. The product is dried in a tube bundle dryer and ethanol is recovered in the process.



Screw extruder for solid/liquid separation
© Fraunhofer IGB
Screw extruder for solid/liquid separation
Decanter for separating suspended particles
© Fraunhofer IGB
Decanter for separating suspended particles
Tube bundle dryer for drying the rapeseed concentrate and ethanol recovery
© Fraunhofer IGB
Tube bundle dryer for drying the rapeseed concentrate and ethanol recovery


Further separation of extracted ingredients  

Since the ethanol accumulates valuable dissolved molecules, there are research approaches to separate these dissolved molecules, such as sinapic acid or phospholipids, for their further use in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals or the agricultural industry. In addition to the processing of rapeseed, the raw material portfolio can thus be expanded together with partners.

Range of services

The pilot plants for de-hulling and ethanol extraction of rapeseed established within the EthaNa project have been put into operation and are available at the CBP facilities for investigating oilseed biorefinery processes – from de-hulling of the seeds and subsequent disruption to the processing of valuable vegetable product fractions.

The flexible design of the pilot plants makes it possible to test and optimize various methods for processing oilseeds.

The focus is on the future integration of alternative oilseed processing lines into the existing infrastructure of existing oil mills. The development of novel processes will not only lead to new products but also to the potential for worldwide marketing of innovative processes and plants.

Reference projects


November 2022 – October 2026


Alternative proteins for everybody and everywhere

Healthy and sustainable food – is this possible? The European Like-A-Pro project deals with the production of food from sustainable resources, and simultaneously the understanding of the consumer’s affections and needs that have to be satisfied to render the European dietary more healthy and in harmony with nature.


November 2020 – April 2022


Insulation material from rapeseed hulls and biobased epoxy resin

When dehulling oilseeds, the hulls accumulate as a by-product. In the DaeRpa project funded by the state of Saxony-Anhalt, an innovative approach to using rapeseed hulls as an insulating material is being investigated. To this end, the rapeseed hulls are to be covered with a biobased coating to improve their stability and their flame-retardant effect.


September 2017 – February 2022


Piloting the ethanolic native extraction of peeled rapeseed

In the “EthanNa®” joint project, cell disruption of rapeseed and recovery of valuable materials are carried out with ethanol instead of the usual solvents ensuring a higher quality of the products. In addition, the mild EthaNa process makes possible to isolate novel recoverable substances. The project's objective is the establishment of a pilot plant at the CBP.