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Research Journal of Chemical Sciences ______________________________________________ ISSN 2231-606X
Vol. 3(9), 64-68, September (2013)
Res. J. Chem. Sci.

Study of Physical and Chemical Properties of Biodiesel from Sorghum Oil
Kumar Ved and Kant Padam*
Department of Chemistry, University of Lucknow, Lucknow-226007, INDIA

Available online at: 
Received 14th August 2013, revised 24th August 2013, accepted 15th September 2013

Abstract
There has been great awareness in the area of the development of biodiesel especially in the developing countries during the
recent time. Significant research activities have been performed for its production and new development. Biodiesels can be
the fuel of the future as it provides an option of economical, eco-friendly, alternative renewable energy source. In the present
investigation sorghum bicolor seed oil and its methyl ester have been chosen to find out their suitability as petro-diesel.
Experimental investigation has been made to find out the physico-chemical properties of sorghum oil. Laboratory scale
quantities of sorghum oil biodiesel were produced through transesterification reaction using 100 g sorghum oil, 17%
methanol (wt% sorghum oil), 1.0% sodium hydroxide catalyst at 60°C in 90 minutes. The experiments were triplicate and
average results were evaluated. The obtained biodiesel was characterized as an alternative diesel fuel through series of
ASTM and European organization (EN 14214) standard fuel tests. The transesterification process yielded 93.5% sorghum oil
biodiesel. The sorghum oil biodiesel had 89.9% reduction of viscosity over its raw vegetable oil at 40°C. Higher specific
gravity, pour point and cloud point were obtained and comparison has been carried out to petroleum diesel. Specific gravity
values were found to favorable with results for other vegetable oil biodiesel. Results obtained were found to be within limits
set by various International standards for biodiesel.
Keywords: Biodiesel, physical and chemical properties, renewable fuel, transesterification.

Introduction
Currently, biodiesel is becoming popular as an environment
friendly fuel. It has been used as an alternative for diesel fuel in
the automotive industry, commonly known as No. 2 diesel. The
advantage of this biofuel over the conventional diesel fuel
includes high cetane numbers, low smoke and particulates, low
carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon emissions; it is biodegradable
and non toxic1. Directly or blended edible or non-...
Research Journal of Chemical Sciences ______________________________________________ ISSN 2231-606X
Vol. 3(9), 64-68, September (2013) Res. J. Chem. Sci.
International Science Congress Association 64
Study of Physical and Chemical Properties of Biodiesel from Sorghum Oil
Kumar Ved and Kant Padam*
Department of Chemistry, University of Lucknow, Lucknow-226007, INDIA
Available online at: www.isca.in
Received 14
th
August 2013, revised 24
th
August 2013, accepted 15
th
September 2013
Abstract
There has been great awareness in the area of the development of biodiesel especially in the developing countries during the
recent time. Significant research activities have been performed for its production and new development. Biodiesels can be
the fuel of the future as it provides an option of economical, eco-friendly, alternative renewable energy source. In the present
investigation sorghum bicolor seed oil and its methyl ester have been chosen to find out their suitability as petro-diesel.
Experimental investigation has been made to find out the physico-chemical properties of sorghum oil. Laboratory scale
quantities of sorghum oil biodiesel were produced through transesterification reaction using 100 g sorghum oil, 17%
methanol (wt% sorghum oil), 1.0% sodium hydroxide catalyst at 60°C in 90 minutes. The experiments were triplicate and
average results were evaluated. The obtained biodiesel was characterized as an alternative diesel fuel through series of
ASTM and European organization (EN 14214) standard fuel tests. The transesterification process yielded 93.5% sorghum oil
biodiesel. The sorghum oil biodiesel had 89.9% reduction of viscosity over its raw vegetable oil at 40°C. Higher specific
gravity, pour point and cloud point were obtained and comparison has been carried out to petroleum diesel. Specific gravity
values were found to favorable with results for other vegetable oil biodiesel. Results obtained were found to be within limits
set by various International standards for biodiesel.
Keywords: Biodiesel, physical and chemical properties, renewable fuel, transesterification.
Introduction
Currently, biodiesel is becoming popular as an environment
friendly fuel. It has been used as an alternative for diesel fuel in
the automotive industry, commonly known as No. 2 diesel. The
advantage of this biofuel over the conventional diesel fuel
includes high cetane numbers, low smoke and particulates, low
carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon emissions; it is biodegradable
and non toxic
1
. Directly or blended edible or non-edible oil can
be used in diesel engine but it can create problem in engine
because of its high viscosity
2,3
. Incomplete combustion of edible
and non-edible oil produce high smoke thereby causing ring
sticking and inefficient oil air mixing effects injector system
performance
4
. Biodiesel comprises of monoalkyl esters of long
chain fatty acids. It is produced using edible oil, non-edible oil
and animal fats by acid or by base catalyzed transesterification
with ethanol or methanol
5
. The significant efforts have been
made for obtaining biodiesel by transesterification of oil
obtained from Jatropha curcas
6
, soybean
7
, sunflower
8,9
, cotton
seed
10
, rapeseed
11
, and palm
12
. The ASTM-445 specification for
viscosity at 40
C of centistokes is generally met by biodiesel
and biodiesel blends. The reported viscosity of soy methyl ester
is ranging from 3.8 to 4.1 centistokes at 40°C. Glycerin
contamination will increase biodiesel viscosity which leads
many other problems. Estimates of the surface tension of
biodiesel suggest that it may be two to three times as great as
that for diesel. The major problem of using biodiesel in diesel
engine is higher viscosity and cloud point. High viscosity of
edible oil, non edible oil and animal fats tends to cause problem
when directly used in diesel engines
13-16
. The fuel droplet size
during injection is affected by the above properties. Higher NO
x
emission may be due to larger droplets resulting from both
viscosity and surface tension of Biodiesel. Transesterification
of oil and fats using short chain alcohols, results in monoesters
having viscosity that is closer to petroleum based diesel fuel
17-19
.
The physical and chemical properties such as viscosity, density,
flash point, cloud point, cetane number, and acid value etc.
affect the biodiesel engine performance and emission. In turn,
these properties are derived from the fatty acid composition and
the properties of the individual fatty esters in biodiesel.
Increase in chain length and decrease in unsaturation
20
of fatty
compounds
result in increase in cetane number, heating value
and viscosity.
Many species of the genus sorghum (Sorghum bicolor, family
poaceae), are found in tropical and subtropical countries;
Sorghum bicolor is crop plant; eight species of sorghum are
reported to occur in several part of India. The sorghum seed is
comprised of 30-50% oil and oil extraction will not affect the
food, feed and fodder needs of formers
21
. The fatty acid
compositions of sorghum oil consist of palmitic acid, stearic
acid, oleic acid, lenoliec acid, and lenolenic acid
21
. Thus, it
attract as the starting oil for production of biodiesel fuel. The
physical and chemical properties such as free fatty acid,
viscosity, density, flash point, cloud point, cetane number,
iodine value, saponification value and acid value of sorghum oil
were studied and fatty acid composition of sorghum oil was
determined and compared with jatropha oil.
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