Optimization of Jatropha Methyl Ester and Study of its Physico-Chemical Properties using GC-MS and FT-IR Analysis

Research Article

Austin Chem Eng. 2016; 3(2): 1027.

Optimization of Jatropha Methyl Ester and Study of its Physico-Chemical Properties using GC-MS and FT-IR Analysis

Swathi D1*, Gopa1 BV1, Rao PV2 and Raju GMJ1

1Department of Chemical Engineering, Andhra University, India

2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Andhra University, India

*Corresponding author: D Swathi, Department of Chemical Engineering, Andhra University, India

Received: March 07, 2016; Accepted: April 13, 2016 Published: April 14, 2016


Biodiesel is becoming prominent among the alternatives to conventional petro-diesel due to economic, environmental and social factors. The quality of biodiesel is influenced by the nature of feedstock and the production processes employed. The process of transesterification is affected by the molar ratio of alcohol to oil, amount and nature of catalysts (NaOH and KOH), reaction time, and temperature. Jatropha methyl ester was analyzed for qualitative and quantitative characterization by using GC-MS and FT-IR techniques. C H N O S was analyzed using elemental analysis. Its fuel properties like cetane number (ignition quality indicator), iodine value (unsaturation levels), molecular weight, density, kinematic viscosity, heating value, flash point etc., is also calculated it is concluded that the biodiesel from these species can be feasible, cost effective and environment friendly.

Keywords: Transesterification; Catalyst; GC-MS; FT-IR; Elemental analysis


The growth of industries, transport, agriculture and other human needs depends largely on petroleum fuels. In recent years, the fossil fuel resources are depleting rapidly with consequent environment degradation [1] which causes global warming and green house effects. This environmental issues have set the starting point for research in new and less harmful technologies [2]. Biodiesel (methyl ester) as an alternative has attracted considerable attention during the past decade as a renewable, biodegradable, and non-toxic fuel [3]. The monoalkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from a renewable lipid feed stocks such as vegetable oil or animal fat [4-5]. Methyl esters are generally produced from edible and non-edible feed stocks. Edible oils like coconut oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, palm oil and soyabeen oil are used for methyl ester production. However, fortunately non-edible feed stocks such as Karanja (pongamia pinnata), Neem (azadirachta indica), callopyllum inopyllum and Jatropha Curcas provide an alternative feedstock without competing with food usage [6]. Hence the use of non-edible vegetable oils compared to edible oil is significant for methyl ester feedstock because of the tremendous demand for edible oils as food [7]. So, non-edible feedstock is considered for methyl ester production among those Jatropha curcas seeds are taken because it has high oil content 30-50% and abundant availability

Many researchers have demonstrated several ways for production of methylester from selected feedstock, but base catalyzed transesterification is still widely used method in methyl ester production. Among the most commonly used alkaline catalysts potassium hydroxide (KOH) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) flakes which are inexpensive, easy to handle in transportation and storage [8]. The activity of catalyst depends upon the amount of methoxide radicals available for the reaction [9]. In transesterification of vegetable oils and animal fats, each mole of triglycerides reacts stoichiometrically with 3 moles of a primary alcohol and yields 3 moles of alkyl esters (methyl ester) and I mole of glycerol (byproduct) [10]. The actual mechanism consists of sets of equilibrium reactions in series and all of the reactions are reversible [11]. The reaction depends upon types of feedstock, catalyst concentration, reaction temperature and methanol to oil ratio [12].

The paper reports the study on processing optimization and characterization using different alkali catalyst like NaOH and KOH by examining their effects on methyl ester yield at different catalyst concentrations, molar ratios, reaction temperature and reaction time. The optimized conditions for higher yield with their characteristics are analyzed.

Materials and Methods

Chemicals and reagents

Jatropha Curcas seeds are purchased from Tamilnadu traders, Coimbatore. Chemicals like H2SO4, KOH, NaOH of Indian drugs and pharmaceutical Ltd., methanol (99.5%), H3PO4 of E Merck India Ltd., were used in the experimental work.

Extraction process

Oil can be extracted from the seeds by heat, solvents or by pressure. Extraction by heat is not used commercially for vegetable oils. The oil from Jatropha seeds can be extracted by three different methods. These are mechanical extraction using screw press, solvent extraction and an intermittent extraction technique viz. soxhlet extraction. Mechanical extraction process is used for the extraction of oil as shown in Figure 1.