A study on the process of modifying plant oils for rural liquid biofuel in Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
A study on the process of modifying plant oil (PO) to produce a liquid biofuel, that has similar specifications of diesel fuel grade 4-D for use in low- and medium speed diesel engines was carried out. These engines are commonly used in rural areas for many socio-economic activities. PO’s chemical composition is the major factor that affects diesel engine performance and was the basis for modification. PO samples under study were: Jatropha curcas L. (JO), Croton Megalocarpus (CROT), Ricinus communis (CST) and Excoecaria bussei (EIX) seed oils. PO Modification was carried out in the laboratory and involved degumming, neutralising and blending as major process steps. The reduction efficiencies in viscosity, free fatty acids (FFAs) and phospholipids (gums) were used as performance indicators. Main materials used for blending were fusel oil (FO) and natural gas condensate (NGC). Degumming and neutralisation had no impact on viscosity but they were effective (98%) in gums and FFAs removal respectively. The effect of blending was significant with 50-80% viscosity reduction. The optimum parameters for formulating blends were found to depend on the modifier characteristics and on the fatty acid (FA) composition of PO. The overall results indicated that degummed-neutralised-blended PO’s properties meet the specifications for diesel fuel grade 4-D. basing on laboratory results and other sources, techno-economic analysis of the process was carried out with an aid of SuperPro Designer software. A small-scale modified plant oil (MPO) production plant with an annual capacity of 15 t of MPO (batch process) was designed and simulated and found to be economically viable. It was recommended that engine performance tests to be done in future in order to analyse the short- and long-term effects of MPO on engine.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF TP343.M552)
Biomass energy, Liquid fuels, Tanzania
Mlay, H. (2015) A study on the process of modifying plant oils for rural liquid biofuel in Tanzania, Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam