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Title: Moringa Oleifera Oil: A Possible Source of Biodiesel

item Moser, Bryan
item Knothe, Gerhard

Submitted to: Bioresource Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/11/2008
Publication Date: 5/12/2008
Citation: Rashid, U., Anwar, F., Moser, B.R., Knothe, G.H. 2008. Moringa Oleifera Oil: A Possible Source of Biodiesel. Bioresource Technology. 99:8175-8179.

Interpretive Summary: Biodiesel is an alternative diesel fuel derived from vegetable oils such as soybean oil or other sources such as animal fats and waste frying oils. However, all known sources of biodiesel do not suffice to replace all diesel fuel obtained from petroleum. Therefore, it is important to find additional sources of biodiesel, including vegetable oils which have not been studied previously in this respect. This work describes that a vegetable oil called Moringa oleifera oil is a potential source of biodiesel. Important fuel properties of the biodiesel derived from this oil were studied, showing the suitability of this oil as a potential source of biodiesel.

Technical Abstract: Biodiesel is an alternative to petroleum-based conventional diesel fuel and is defined as the mono-alkyl esters of vegetable oils and animal fats. Biodiesel has been prepared from numerous vegetable oils, such as canola (rapeseed), cottonseed, palm, peanut, soybean and sunflower oils as well as a variety of less common oils. In this work, Moringa oleifera oil, reported for the first time as potential feedstock for biodiesel. After acid pre-treatment to reduce the acid value of the M. oleifera oil, biodiesel was obtained by a standard transesterification procedure with methanol and an alkali catalyst at 60 oC and alcohol/oil ratio of 6:1. Moringa oleifera oil has a high content of oleic acid (> 70%) with saturated fatty acids comprising most of the remaining fatty acid profile. As a result, the methyl esters obtained from this oil exhibit a high cetane number of approximately 67, one of the highest found for a biodiesel fuel. Other fuel properties of biodiesel derived from M. oleifera such as cloud point, kinematic viscosity and oxidative stability were also determined and are discussed in light of biodiesel standards such as ASTM D6751 and EN 14214. The 1H-NMR spectrum of M. oleifera methyl esters is reported. Overall, M. oleifera oil appears to be an acceptable feedstock for biodiesel.