Sunflower Oil Extraction Process, Methods – A Full Guide


Introduction to the extraction process of Sunflower oil from seeds:

Today, we learn the profitable sunflower oil extraction process and methods. What is Sunflower oil? Sunflower oil is the non-volatile oil pressed from the seeds of sunflower or Helianthus annuus (scientific name of Sunflower). It is normally used in food as a frying oil, and in cosmetic formulations as an emollient.

Sunflower oil, or sunflower seed oil, is very rich in vitamin E. Sunflower oil is gold in color, light, and offers certain important benefits. Sunflower oil is low in saturated fats and high in polyunsaturated fats (the healthy fats). Sunflower oil is used as medicine.

Harvesting sunflower seeds

To harvest Sunflower seeds, keep an eye out for ripeness. The back of the flower head will turn from green to yellow color and the bracts will begin to dry and turn brown; this happens about 30 to 45 days after bloom and Sunflower seed moisture is about 35%. Normally, when the head turns brown on the back, seeds are ready for harvest.

Sunflower Dried Seeds.
Sunflower Dried Seeds.

Cut the head off the plant (about four inches below the flower head) and remove the seeds with fingers or a fork. To protect the Sunflower seeds from birds, you can cover the flowers with a light fabric (such as cheesecloth) and a rubber band. Alternatively, cut the flower head early and hang the heads upside down until the seeds are dry; hang indoors or in a place that’s safe from birds and mice.

Read: Watermelon Profits, Yield per Acre.

Some facts about Sunflower oil:


Sunflower Farming.
Sunflower Farming.
  • Sunflowers are one of the fastest growing plants and they produce tall. On average, they grow up to 8 to 12 feet within six months.
  • Sunflowers produce best in locations with direct sunlight (6 to 8 hours per day); they want long, hot summers to flower well.
  • Sunflower seed oil is obtained from the seeds within the brown hub in the center of the sunflower plant.
  • Sunflower oil is light in taste and gives more Vitamin E than any other vegetable oil.
  • Sunflower oil is mainly composed of less-stable polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, it can be most susceptible to degradation by heat, air, and light, which trigger and accelerate oxidation.
  • Sunflower oil is a mixture mostly of the polyunsaturated fat, linoleic acid (59% of total), and the monounsaturated fat, oleic acid (30% of total). In sunflower oil plant breeding and manufacturing, four types of processed oil containing different amounts of the main fatty acids are produced. The expressed Sunflower oil has a light amber color with a mild flavor. The Sunflower oil contains a rich content of vitamin E.
  • Sunflowers do not need fertilizing. However, because they produce vigorously (they can easily grow 6 feet in just 3 months). Slow-acting granular fertilizer must be used, especially if the soil is of poor quality. The improved the enrichment, the larger the flowers. Too much nitrogen, but, can delay flowering. Spreading a 2 or 3-inch mulch layer of some kind of organic material on the soil will reduce moisture loss during evaporation and discourage weeds.

Sunflower oil extraction process stages

Sunflower Oil Extraction Stages.
Sunflower Oil Extraction Stages.

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Sunflower oil production has the following manufacturing processes: cleaning of the seeds, grinding of the seeds, pressing and extraction of crude oil from these seeds and then further refining the oil obtained before packaging. A volatile hydrocarbon like hexane is used as a solvent to extract the oil.

  • Cleaning
  • De-hulling
  • Grinding
  • Pressing
  • Solvent extraction
  • Refining
Cleaning the Seeds:

The harvested sunflower oil seeds are passed over magnets to subtraction any metal traces, and other impurities are getting rid off by cleaning sieve and destoners.  Then the outer covering (hulls) of the seeds are removed to get pure seeds.


Sunflower seeds from the oil-type contain about 20% to 30% hulls that are sometimes removed before oil extraction to ensure the quality of both oil and sunflower meal. De-hulling is completed when the seed has a moisture content of 5% after cleaning. The usual procedure consists of cracking the seeds by the mechanical action of centrifugal or pneumatic sheller, which can also be completed by abrasion. Then the resultant mixture is winnowed to separate the hulls from the kernels. Some oil sunflower seeds have thin hulls that are hard to remove, so they can be free from de-hulling to avoid oil loss.

Grinding the Seeds:

The de-hulled seeds are ground into coarse meal to give a larger surface area to be pressed. Hammer mills or grooved rollers are mainly used to crush the coarse meal into uniform fine particles. Then the meal is heated to enable oil extraction, though impurities are released with oil during this procedure and such impurities should be removed before the oil is declared edible.

Sunflower Seeds.
Sunflower Seeds.
Read: Advantages and Disadvantages of GM Crops.

The heated meal is fed into a screw press which progressively increases the pressure from 60 kilopascals (kps) to 950kps, 206kps, to 850kps as the meal is passed through a slotted barrel. At the same time, the oil is squeezed out during the slots in the barrel and recovered.

Extraction of the Additional Oil

Volatile hydrocarbon solvents are used to procedure the remaining oil cake through solvent extraction so as to achieve maximum yields. The most normally used solvent is hexane which dissolves the oil out of remaining oil cake. The solvent is then distilled out of the oil, passed during the matter and then collected at the bottom.

Removal of Solvent Traces

Around 90% of the volatile solvent left in the extracted oil, evaporates and it’s composed for reuse. Then a stripping column is used to recover the remaining solvent. In this procedure, the oil is boiled by steam and the solvent evaporates, condenses and is collected separately.

Oil Refining and Processing:

Extracted and desolventized sunflower oil should be further processed to create an edible product. Edible oils are refined to develop the flavor, odor, color, and solidity using processes that degum, neutralize, bleach and deodorize the oil. These oil refining processes eliminate contaminants such as phosphatides, free fatty acids, and pro-oxidants.

Further processing of Sunflower oil and fats is sometimes desired. Some oils are winterized or dewaxed and some are modified to differ melting characteristics. Byproducts can be more processed to create value-added products or reduce costs.

The final stage involves deodorizing the oil bypassing the steam over hot oil placed in a vacuum at temperatures between 225°C and 250°C. This allows the volatile components steady for the taste and odor to evaporate from the oil. One percent citric acid is added to the oil to inactivate some trace metals present, thus preventing oxidation within the oil, thereby prolonging the shelf life of the oil.

Packing the oil:

Pure oil is measured or packed in clean containers, and the usual ones are bottles for domestic sale, glass bottles for exports or domestic sales in specialty stores, or cans for exports.

Sunflower oil extraction process

Sunflower Oil Extraction.
Sunflower Oil Extraction.

Read: Uses of Biosensors in Agriculture.

How is sunflower oil extracted? The seed is mechanically pressed (pre-pressed) to extract approximately half to three-quarters of the obtainable oil so that the solvent extraction can be run more efficiently. This is typical for seeds having more than 20% oil. The solvent extraction procedure uses hexane or other solvents to wash the sunflower oil from the prepared flakes. The design of the equipment varies so that Crown can optimize the amount of solvent and bed depth required to efficiently wash the flakes, the contact time of the solvent and flakes and the power and utilities desirable to run the equipment.

Warm and cold presses extract oil from sunflower seeds with somewhat different flavors in the finished product. In a cold press, the hulls are removed; the seeds are broken into slighter pieces and run through steel rollers or a piston-like cylinder to squeeze out the oil. The resultant oil is generally labeled as “extra-virgin” sunflower oil, but the process leaves much of the oil behind in the seeds. Warm presses work much the same as cold presses, but the seeds are heated somewhat before passing through the press for extraction. The heat lowers the viscosity of the oil so it flows more simply from the seeds when pressed; think the flow of refrigerated honey versus the flow of microwaved honey. A warm pressing result in more extracted oil, but the flavor differs slightly, similar to the difference between roasted or unroasted nuts. In some cases, a chemical called “hexane” is useful to the seeds to increase the amount of oil that can be extracted. After pressing seeds through the cold or warm press process, hexane might be applied to help extract any remaining oil from the seeds. The extracted oil is boiled so the hexane evaporates, processed with lye to eliminate the chemical taste, then steamed and heated to remove the lye taste.

Cost of Sunflower oil extraction machine:

Cost of automatic Sunflower oil extraction machine approximately,

Rs 1.45 Lakh/Piece.

Benefits of Sunflower oil

May enhance oral health

Sunflower oil is extremely useful for oil pulling. Sunflower oil reduces plaque-related gingivitis. The Sunflower oil exhibits antibacterial activity against C. albicans, which is the most common cause of infections in people.

Strengthens your immune system

Sunflower oil is rich in antioxidants and strengthens the cell membrane barriers which make it harder for bacteria and viruses to enter the body. This oil increases the body’s ability to defend infections. Sunflower oil contains protein that helps in building and repairing tissues and various enzymes required for healthy functioning.

May help fight cancer

In a mouse skin tumor model, sunflower seed oil had offered 40% protection against cancer. This was attributed to the sesamol in the oil.

Good for your skin

Sunflower oil is rich in Vitamin A and E which help in promoting skin health. These vitamins A and E act as antioxidants. They help in regenerating damaged skin cells and receiving rid of the acne-causing bacteria. The Sunflower oil is light and non-greasy and thus, it gets absorbed in the skin easily without blocking the pores. Sunflower oil acts as a natural moisturizer and helps in treating dry, sensitive skin.

Boosts heart health

Sunflower oil, in moderation, is a good option for those who want to keep an eye on their heart health and prevent atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis can clog arteries, raise blood pressure, and increase chances of suffering a heart attack or a stroke. The presence of choline, phenolic acid, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats in sunflower oil boosts the energy and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Provides a healthy nervous system

The Vitamin B presence of sunflower oil promotes a healthy nervous system, proper digestion and is a great source of energy.

That’s all folks about the extraction process of sunflower oil from seeds. Keep farming for the better world!.

Read: How to Grow Fennel in the Home Garden.


  1. Dear Reddy

    I am planting 10 acres of sunflower and I like to know where to buy the equipment to press out the oil and the extra process to treat the sunflower oil, esp the gum which got to be remove.

  2. Hi, Can you give me an average yield per 100 hectares and how much oil that may produce. Rough guide is fine. Thank you.

  3. Oil extraction is characterized as the most common way of isolating fatty substance (TAG) lipids from the gathered and focused algal biomass and it very well may be finished through an assortment of mechanical or compound control strategies. Oil extraction utilizing hexane dissolvable has been viewed in this study utilizing a stripper section model.


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