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Preparation of Methyl Ester (Biodiesel) from Karanja (Pongamia Pinnata) Oil

Author Affiliations

  • 1Indian Biodiesel Corporation, Baramati, Dist- Pune, Maharashtra, INDIA
  • 2 Shardabai Pawar Mahila College, Shardanagar, Tal- Baramati, Dist Pune, Maharashtra, INDIA

Res.J.chem.sci., Volume 2, Issue (8), Pages 43-50, August,18 (2012)


Self reliance in energy is vital for overall economic development of our country. The need to search for alternative sources of energy which are renewable, safe and non- polluting assumes top priority in view of the uncertain supplies and frequent price hikes of fossil fuels in the international market. Biodiesel (fatty acid methyl ester) which is derived from triglycerides by transesterification, has attracted considerable attention during the past decade as a renewable, biodegradable and nontoxic fuel. Several processes of biodiesel fuel production have been developed, among which transesterification using alkali as a catalyst gives high level of conversion of triglycerides to their corresponding methyl ester in a short duration. This process has therefore been widely utilized for biodiesel fuel production in number of countries. In India, there are many trees bearing oil like ratanjot (jatropha curcus), mahua (madhuca indica), pilu (salvodara oleoids), nahor (mesua ferralina), kokam (garcinia indica), rubber seed (hevea brasilensis)and karanja (pongamia pinnata) etc. Among these species, which can yield oil as a source of energy in the form of biodiesel, Pongamia pinnata has been found to be one of the most suitable species due to its various favorable attributes like its hardy nature, high oil recovery and quality of oil, etc. As the acid value of this oil is high, so that we have to reduce it by the process of esterification followed by transesterification. The methyl ester produced by this way gives the good result. The present study deals with transesterification of karanja oil which gives 907ml of karanja oil methyl ester (KOME) and 109ml of glycerol using methanol (13%) and sodium hydroxide as a catalyst (1%). The properties like density, viscosity, flash point, cloud point and pour point have been determined as per ASTM standards for accessing the fuel quality of KOME.


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