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The paper characterized and transesterified castor seed oil. The resulting product was tested as feedstock for biodiesel production. It was carried out at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria, over a period of eight months. The oil was extracted in a soxhlet extractor with n-hexane as the solvent. The oil obtained was filtered and then characterized. Transesterification was carried out using a laboratory scale biodiesel processor. The fuel and physico-chemical properties of the oil and its biodiesel were determined following ASTM, EN and AOCS methods. The results revealed that all the properties of the biodiesel are within the ASTM limits for biodiesel except the kinematic viscosity. The oil contains 89% ricinoleic acid and has high solubility in methanol due to the hydroxyl group and requires minimum amount of catalyst to give maximum biodiesel yield. The heating value obtained for the oil and its biodiesel were 32 MJ/kg and 38 MJ/kg. The castor seed oil investigated has oil content of 34%, and the properties characterized are all within the limits for biodiesel. Castor oil has excellent solubility in methanol and hence theoretically an ideal feedstock for biodiesel production.
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