This is paper aimed at characterizing Nigerian Jatropha curcas seed oil in terms of % free fatty acid (FFA), viscosity, calorific, acid, iodine and saponification values and cetane number which were found to conform to those in literature. The GC-MS analysis of the raw oil indicated that oil consisted principally of palmitic, oleic, linoleic and stearic acids. The established operating conditions for the efficient cosolvent transesterification of Jatropha oil, using tetrahydrofuran as the cosolvent, were found to be 40°C, 200 rpm, 4:1 methanol-to-oil molar ratio, 1:1 cosolvent-to-methanol volume ratio, 0.5% w/w catalyst concentration and a time duration of 10 min. An optimum yield of 98% was obtained at these conditions and the result of the GC-MS analysis confirms the formation of methyl ester at these conditions. Properties of the biodiesel obtained at these optimum transestrification conditions were compared favourably with the ASTM D 6751-02 Standard B100.
Key words: Jatropha curcas, transesterification, cosolvent, biodiesel
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