Economics of plant oil recovery: A review

Ming Hsun Cheng, Bruce S. Dien, Vijay Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Plant oil is a major agricultural commodity used in food, feed, and chemicals. Presently plant oil is produced from oil seeds either using mechanical pressing or solvent extraction. These technologies have steadily improved for increased oil recovery; however, production cost is especially important for a commodity. Herein three technologies and their costs are reviewed for on-farm pressing, industrial mechanical pressing, and solvent extraction. Solvent extraction is the dominant technology because it offers high oil recovery and low production cost. In contrast, industrial mechanical pressing has the highest production cost because of its low oil yield; nevertheless, the simple process results in the lowest fixed capital investment. For on-farm pressing, lower material cost results in lower production cost than industrial mechanical pressing. Additionally, credits from co-products play an important role in determining total revenues, especially for mechanical pressing. Therefore, broadening the applications and values of the co-product is also critical for profitability for the plant oil industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101056
JournalBiocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Industrial mechanical pressing
  • On-farm pressing
  • Plant oil production
  • Production cost
  • Solvent extraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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