The Influence of Physicochemical Characteristics of Vegetable Oils on ohe Quality of Biodiesel Produced from Palm Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Refined Soyabean Oil, Unrefined Soyabean Oil and Jatropha Curcas Oil.

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Biodiesel is a clean fuel, which is chemically produced from a variety of vegetable oils (VOs), animal tallows and waste cooking oils. This thesis examines the influence of physico-chemical characteristics of vegetable oils on the yield and quality of biodiesel. In this research, some physico-chemical characteristics of palm oil, palm kernel oil, soybean oil and Jatropha curcas oil such as acid value, iodine value, saponification value, viscosity, density, specific gravity and refractive index were determined. The following fuel properties of the biodiesel produced using the optimum conditions of the different oils were determined: viscosity, density, pour point, cloud point, water content, acid value, cetane index, ash content and sulphur content. The fuel properties of biodiesel for the various oils were compared with the latest American Standard for Testing Material (ASTM D 6751) and European standard for biodiesel. It was found that all the oils studied exhibited good fuel properties except palm oil biodiesel in which its viscosity, colour, carbon residue, acid values and other parameters fell outside the ASTM D 6751 (08) Limits. The results also revealed that, high acid value of VOs which denotes high FFA decreases the yield of biodiesel. Palm oil and palm kernel oil with high FFA values of 5.05 and 4.81 recorded less yields of 91.15% and 93.32% respectively, compared to 96.37% and 94.37% obtained from refined and unrefined soybean oils respectively, with low FFA values of 1.73 and 3.51. Again, it was found that, iodine value, density and viscosity of VOs have influence on the following quality parameters of the fuel; cetane index, cold point, pour point and kinematic viscosity, hence it was concluded that, the physico-chemical characteristics of the oils which depend on the type of oil, climate and the locality of plant have influence on the yield and quality of biodiesel produced from those oils.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of GRADUATE STUDIES, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in Partial Fulfilment of the Award of MSc. Degree in Analytical Chemistry.