Prime steam lard obtained from pig fat by rendering was characterized and refined. The lard was transesterified with methanol and sodium hydroxide (as catalyst) at 40, 50, 60, and 70°C. Fuel properties of the fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) or biodiesel were determined alongside that of petroleum derived diesel obtained commercially. Results obtained showed that the saponification and iodine values of the lard were 198 and 64.08, respectively, while the flash point and viscosity were 203°C and 47.87 mm2s-1, respectively. While the refractive index of the methyl esters decreased with increase in temperature from 1.4480 to 1.4430 (1.4459 ± 0.0022), the specific gravity increased from 0.860 to 0.875. The flash point and the pH of the biodiesel samples were 134.25°C ± 1.71°C and 7.05 ± 0.03, respectively, and the viscosity was 4.23 ± 0.1 mm2s-1. The flash point, iodine value, viscosity, cetane index, and the specific gravity of the petrodiesel were 79°C, 84, 3.12, 46, and 0.84, respectively. The values obtained for the FAME are within the standard limits and compares well with that reported in the open literature. It can be used alone or in blends with petrodiesel to run compression ignition engines.
Key words: Pig fat, rendering, transesterification, fatty acid methyl esters, cetane index
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