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Asian Journal of Biochemistry
Year: 2011  |  Volume: 6  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 450 - 457

Potentials of Afzelia Africana Vegetable Oil in Biodiesel Production

I.O. Igwenyi, C.E. Offor, P.M. Aja, G.S. Aloh, O.U. Orji and C.A. Afiukwa    

Abstract: Vegetable oils are combustible materials of organic origin and have potentials for use as biodiesel. The potential of extractable vegetable oil from Afzelia africana in the production of biodiesel was investigated and its fuel properties were evaluated by the assessment of the physicochemical properties. Standard official methods were employed in extraction and characterization of oil from Afzelia africana (African oak) seed and it was found that it contained 18.50% crude lipid content on dry weight basis with a very high percentage of total fatty matter and a refractive index of 1.47 at 40°C. The acid value 4.49% was low in the oil sample while the peroxide value 6.40 meq g-1 was indicative of very low level of hydroperoxides which could initiate or propagate further oxidation of the oil, thereby improving the stability (oxidative stability) of the oils. The saponification value was 229.12 mg KOH g-1 while the iodine value indicates that the oil was non-drying and non volatile at room temperature. The value of the Cetane index was 55 and the estimated value of the heat of combustion revealed that burning the vegetable oil in a diesel engine will yield about 9209.45 cal g-1. The fatty acid distribution in the seeds of Afzelia africana expressed as the percentage area of fatty acid methyl esters composition revealed lauric acid 0.69%, myristic acid 1.54, palmitic acid 33.45%, stearic acid 6.97%, oleic acid 12.25% and linoleic acid 41.25%, showing that the seed oil was predominantly composed of palmitic acid and oleic acid families. This result showed that the oil would be stable on exposure to atmospheric oxygen during storage and use. This stability is further confirmed by the low level of free fatty acids.

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