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Can Vegetable Oils be used as diesel?

In long run not suitable
[ Ñigh viscosity
[ Poor atomization
[ Poor volatility
[ Thermal cracking in diesel engines.
[ Poor oxidation stability.
[ Polymerisation in combustion chamber leading
to deposits.
[ Injection fouling by deposits
[ Fuel line and filter clogging
[ Polymerisation of triglycerides in the lube oil

Ñence modification of vegetable oils is necessary
for efficient & trouble free engine operation.
å   |

|iodiesel is a renewable fuel.
Technically biodiesel is vegetable oil
methyl / ethyl ester. The biodiesel
molecules are very simple hydrocarbons
containing no sulfur, ring molecules or
aromatics associated with fossil fuels. 


[ Very low sulphur content.
[ No Aromatics
[ No net carbon dioxide addition to
[ 99.6% bio-degradability within 21
[ Renewable Source.  


mnergy security
mconomic and social cohesion
Ñealthy environment
Upliftment of Rural Communities
mmployment generation
Rejuvenation of Wasteland 

›ower energy content Modification in FI
(5-7%less than distillate system for
fuel) more/optimized fuel air
More deposit on engine Use of additives
traces of glycerides)

mngine oil degradation Use of improved engine
Marginal NOx increase Use of after treatment
(1-6%) devices
Specific Gravity 0.87 to 0.89
Kinematic viscosity @40°C 3.7 to 5.8
Cetane Number 46 to 70
Ñigher heating value (btu/lb) 16,928 to 17,996
Sulfur, wt% 0.0 to 0.0024
Cloud point °C -11 to 16
Pour point °C -15 to 13
Iodine number 60 to 135
›ower heating value (btu/lb) 15,700 to 16,735
Flash point ~ 130 C
[ |iodiesel is non-toxic, biodegradable and exhibits high
flash point- handling and storage are therefore safer
than petroleum diesel.
[ |iodiesel can be used in existing engines and fuel
injection equipment without negative impact to
operating performance. Virtually the same MPG rating
as conventional diesel.
[ |iodiesel can extend engine life because of its superior
lubricating properties. Can be used as lubricity
improver additive in petro diesel.
[ It operates well in a conventional diesel engine with
very few or no engine modifications.
[ It can be used neat and as blend with conventional
[ |iodiesel reduces tailpipe emissions, visible smoke and
noxious odors. 
| |  

ÑFRR, WSD microns
Percent |iodiesel
Number 2 Number 1
0.0 536 671
0.4 481 649
1.0 321 500
2.0 322 355
20.0 314 318
100.0 314 314

For No. 2 diesel 1% biodiesel was sufficient.
For No. 1 diesel 2% biodiesel was sufficient.
For still low sulfur diesel bodiesel dozes can
be increased to meet lubricity requirement.
IIP has developed an additive which
improves the lubricity and stability of
both diesel and biodiesel. Dozes levels of
50-150 ppm are sufficient to meet
lubricity requirements.

[ |iodiesel is 1.5-2 times costlier than petro-diesel,
depending upon the price of feed vegetable oil. Cost
of vegetable oil accounts for about 75% cost of
[ |iodiesel and biodiesel blends have not penetrated
the market due to its higher cost.
[ To have a greater impact on the Indian Farm/Rural
sector biodiesel may have to compete with petro-
[ Use of alternative low cost vegetable oils/feedstocks
may reduce the cost of biodiesel.
[ One possible solution to this problem is to market
biodiesel as a fuel additive that would be blended in
the range of 1-3% by volume with petro-diesel to
enhance fuel performance with respect to lubricity,
cetane no., emissions and biodegradability
[ |iodiesel may be more competitive as diesel fuel
Transesterification is a suitable way to
convert oils and fats into biodiesel

[ ›owering of
- Viscosity
- |oiling point
- Flash point
[ Increase of cetane number (10 to 20
[ Cleaner combustion / lower engine

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[ |ase catalysed transesterification with refined
[ |ase catalysed transesterification with low fatty
acid greases and fats.
[ Acid esterification followed by
transesterification of low or high free fatty acid
fats and oils.

Others under development include:
[ |iocatalysed transesterification.
[ Pyrolysis of vegetable oils/seed.

Transesterification is simple and easily
adaptable at commercial scale.

[ The goal of all technologies is to produce fuel
grade biodiesel whose proportion meet standard
specifications [ASTM / muropean / Proposed

[ The key quality control issues involve complete
(or nearly complete) removal of alcohol,
catalyst, water, soaps, glycerine, and unreacted
or partially reacted triglycerides and FFA.

[ Failure to remove these contaminates causes
the biodiesel to fail one or more fuel standards.
Technologies can be run as

[ |atch
[ Continuous

Continuous processes may not be
suitable if the variation in quality of
feedstocks are wide.  







There are numerous variations of basic
[ Different catalysts e.g. NaOÑ, KOÑ, MeONa, Non
alkaline catalysts, acids, metal complexes and bio
catalysts etc. can be used.
[ Anhydrous ethanol, isopropanol or butanol can be
substituted for methanol.
[ Alcohols other than methanol may require additional
process steps and quality control.
[ |asic transesterification is carried out at atmospheric
pressure and temperature around 60°-70°C.
[ Some technologies use higher temperatures and
elevated pressure, typically in super critical range of
[ For high FFA feedstocks ² acid catalysed esterification
followed by base catalysed transesterification is used or
FFA can be removed first and the purified oil is
Majority of commercial processes use
base catalysed reaction because it is
most economic for several reasons:

[ ›ow reaction temperature upto 100°C and
pressure up to 10 bar.
[ Ñigh conversion (~98%) and minimal side
reactions and reaction time.
[ Direct conversion to methyl esters with no
[ mxotic material of construction are not


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|ased on the energy used on the average
soya bean farm and in oil extraction,
refining and esterification facilities for
every 1 |tu of energy input into the
production system an average 2.51 |tus
of energy output is realised i.e 151%
energy gain. 
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[ Free fatty acids interfere with
transesterification deactivate the basic
catalysts ² loss of catalyst and biodiesel yield.
[ Water deactivates both basic and acidic
catalysts. Drying of oil may be required.
[ Soaps formed with basic catalyst form emulsion
and foam and difficult to remove.
[ When processing feedstocks with high free fatty
acids additional steps must be taken.
[ After basic transesterification, the purification
and adequate testing during processing is
required to produce fuel grade esters.

[ |iodiesel is prepared from oils and fats.
[ Oils and fats are composed of molecules
called triglycerides.
[ mach triglyceride is composed of fatty
acid three long-chains fatty acids of 8-22
carbons attached to a glyceride


Fatty Soyabean Cottonseed Palm ›ard Tallow Coconut

›auric 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 46.5
Myristic 0.1 0.7 1.0 1.4 2.8 19.2
Palmitic 10.2 20.1 42.8 23.6 23.3 9.8
Stearic 3.7 2.6 4.5 14.2 19.4 3.0
Oleic 22.8 19.2 40.5 44.2 42.4 6.9
›inoleic 53.7 55.2 10.1 10.7 2.9 2.2
›inolenic 8.6 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.9 0.0
|iodiesel feedstocks are classified based
on free fatty acid content.
[ Refined oils such as soya bean or canola oil (FFA
[ ›ow FFA oils yellow greases and animal fats

[ Ñigh FFA oils greases, spent frying oils and
animal fats (FFA 5 to u20%).

Other feed stocks sewage greases and
high FFA greases (FFA > 50) 

Vegetable Oil Country

Rape seed France, US
Sunflower Italy, Southern France
Soyabean USA
Palm Malaysia
›inseed, Olive Spain
Cotton Greece
Jatropha curcas Nicaragua, India
Used Frying Oils Australia
Other Waste oils & fats. USA

[ For India non-edible oils obtained
from plants which can be grown on
waste/ semi arid lands are more
suitable. Species can be selected
based on the regional climatic

[ Most of the non-edible oils available
in India contains high FFA (2-12%) 

|   | 

Possible raw materials for biodiesel

Ratanjyot Jatropha curcas
Karanja Pongamia glabra
Mahua Madhuca indica
Pilu Salvadora oleoides
Sal Shorea robusta
Nahor Mesua ferra linn
Kamala Mallotus phillipines
Kokam Garcinia indica
Rubber Seed Ñevea |rasilensis

[ Must be able to process variety of vegetable oils
without or minimum modifications.
[ Must be able to process high free fatty
containing oils/ feedstocks.
[ Must be able to process raw both expelled and
refined oils.
[ Process should be environment friendly almost
zero effluents.
[ Able to produce marketable by products
glycerine, fatty acids, soap if any.
[ Must be able to produce fuel grade esters;
|iodiesel produced should meet the standard
[ The process should be adaptable over a large
range of production capacities.
Research Activities on |iodiesel
Production and Performance
mvaluation at Indian Institute of
Petroleum, Dehradun
[ Development of a processes for
biodiesel from various feedstocks.
[ To evaluate biodiesel as an admixture
with regular diesel for performance and
emissions in diesel vehicles including
field trials. 
India Institute of Petroleum has
developed three processes for biodiesel
from non-edible oils and under exploited
oils including Jatropha curcas,
Pongamia, Salvadora, Madhuca Indica
and Mixed Oils. 

This process is suitable for feed stocks
having FFA content >1% to about 20%.
The oil is pretreated before
transesterification at moderate
temperature (60-80°C) in presence of a
base catalyst. FFA are also converted to
biodiesel thus higher yield of biodiesel. 






[ Flexibility for processing variety of vegetable oils
separately or mixed.
[ Tolerance of higher levels of free fatty acids
[ Conversion of free fatty acids present in feed oils
to biodiesel or alternatively free fatty acids can be
recovered as byproduct or soap.
[ |iodiesel produced meets the standard
specification (ASTM, muropean or proposed |IS).
[ Glycerine produced is ~ 99% pure.
[ Process can be adapted to wide range of production

[ This process is suited to feedstocks
containing wide range of FFA or 100% FFA.
In this process esterification of FFA and
transesterificagtion o triglycerides is
carried out in a single step over a
proprietary catalyst at moderate
temperature and pressure. The catalyst is
recycled and glycerine is obtained as by
[ The catalyst is not deactivated either with
water or FFA.
[ Flexibility for processing variety of vegetable
oils separately or mixed.
[ Tolerance of higher levels of free fatty acids
[ Conversion of free fatty acids present in feed
oils to biodiesel
[ Tolerance of water in alcohol aqueous ethanol
can be used.
[ No emulsion or soap formation
[ Catalyst is recycled
[ |iodiesel produced meets the standard
specification (ASTM, muropean or proposed
[ Glycerine produced is ~ 99% pure.
[ Process can be adapted to wide range of
production capacities.







This process is suitable for feedstocks
having FFA<1%. Transesterification is
carried out at ambient conditions in
presence of a base catalyst. After
separation of glycerine biodiesel is
purified by distillation / water washings.

This process is especially suitable for
small scale operations. 








[ Any of these processes can be selected to
produce biodiesel depending upon the
characteristics of feed oil stock.

[ |iodiesel produced meets standard
specifications (ASTM / muropean / |IS
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[ Currently IIP is operating batch pilot
plants (5-20 lit/ batch) producing
[ Studies to scale up and performance
evaluation of bio-diesel on commercial
engines are in progress.
[ IIP has already run a bus on |io-diesel
[ IIP has already filed 1-Indian & 1-PCT
[ IIP is in the process of filling 2-Indian
and 2-PCT patents