Biodiesel from Yellow Mustard Oil Report uri icon



  • The goals of this project were to continue with the evaluation of locally developed yellow mustard cultivars, experiment with the biodiesel made from them through stationary engine and on-road testing as well as steady state emissions tests and to sponsor and host the tenth biennial bioenergy conference. 

    Based on the recommendations of Dr. Jack Brown, plant breeder and researcher with UI Plant, Soils and Etymological Sciences Department, two mustard varieties, Ida Gold and Pacific Gold, were selected. Variety trials showed that these two cultivars were well suited for the Northwest and produced high value meal to be used for soil fumigation. Oil extraction and biodiesel production efficiencies have been somewhat less for the yellow mustards (due to lower initial oil content) than for rapeseed and canola. Extraction averaged 58 and 70 percent compared to 78 to 80 percent for rapeseed and canola. Biodiesel production had a yield of 3 percent less than when rapeseed and/or canola were used.

    The 2001 Volkswagen 1.9 L TDI beetle continues to run on 100 percent yellow mustard biodiesel (MEE). It has accumulated a total of 12,210 miles. This vehicle has been used to demonstrate the feasibility of using biodiesel in smaller vehicles and for urban use. The “Idaho Mustard Bug” has been used in numerous demonstrations, schools, field days, open houses, and has been particularly effective in teaching K-12 students about the advantages of alternative fuels. It was displayed at the Renewable Energy Fair in Sun Valley, the Ethanol Conference at West Yellowstone and the Bioenergy 2002 Conference in Boise. 

    A 1999 Cummins powered Dodge diesel pickup truck was also used for on-road and dynamometer testing. The truck has operated on MEE for 27,230 miles and has averaged 15.78 mpg. No operational problems have been noted. Oil analysis results from samples of the engine oil were normal. 

    The Vandal Trolley, which is powered by a Cummins 5.9 liter diesel has been has been running on B20 (20 percent biodiesel) and is a demonstration project to document the efficiency and long-term effects of this alternative fuel on stop-and-start drives. Stationary engine tests include the completion of a 200-hour EMA durability test with a 24 hp, 3 cylinder, Yanmar DI engine running on MEE. During the durability test MEE power averaged 6.0 percent lower; fuel consumption was 2.2 percent higher and BSFC (hp-hrs/gal) was 8 percent higher than when operated on diesel. 

    In August and September of 2001, a series of chassis dynamometer emissions tests were run with a 1994 Dodge Cummins diesel powered pickup. A 602 SuperFlow Dynamometer was used to correlate emissions readings from a portable 5-gas analyzer with emissions readings obtained at the Los Angeles Mass Transit Authority testing facility with the same truck in 1997. Results of these tests showed that only the nitrous oxide data was comparable.

    The Tenth Biennial Bioenergy Conference, Bioenergy 2002, “Bioenergy for the Environment,” was held in Boise Idaho, at the Center on the Grove, the downtown conference center, from Sept. 22–26, 2002. The conference highlighted the latest in biomass energy technology form around the world. Over 200 presenters, both oral and posters, were delivered and over 500 participants registered.

publication date

  • December 2005



  • Alternative fuels; diesel fuels; environmental impacts; campus transportation; test stands; demonstration projects; fuel composition; conferences


report identifier

  • KLK311

    NIATT Report Number N05-06