A Study of the Lipid Structure of Castor Seed Oil (Ricinus communis L), Biodiesel and Its Characterization

Main Article Content

K. Bello
F. Airen
A. O. Akinola
E. I. Bello


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.

Castor seed oil, biodiesel, gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, physico-chemical properties.

Article Details

How to Cite
Bello, K., Airen, F., Akinola, A. O., & Bello, E. I. (2020). A Study of the Lipid Structure of Castor Seed Oil (Ricinus communis L), Biodiesel and Its Characterization. Current Journal of Applied Science and Technology, 38(6), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.9734/cjast/2019/v38i630448
Original Research Article


Peterson CL. Vegetable oils as a diesel fuel: Status and research priorities. Trans. ASAE. 1986;29(5):1413-1421.

Mengech AN. Biomass energy development, vegetable oils as fuels. Energy Research Group. Wiley Eastern Publications; 1990.

Knothe G. Dependence of biodiesel fuel properties on the structure of fatty acid alkyl esters, Fuel Processing Technology. 2005;86:1059–1070.

Mittelbach MP, Remschmidt C. Biodiesel Comprehensive Handbook, Published by M. Mittelbach, Karl-Franzens-Universitst Graz, Graz,Austria; 2004.

Kulkarni MG, Sawant SB. Some physical properties of castor oil esters and hydrogenated castor oil esters. European Journal of Lipid Science Technology. 2003; 105(5):214–218.

Hincapié G, Mondragón F, López D. Conventional and in situ transesterification of castor seed oil for biodiesel production. Fuel. 2011;90(4):1618-1623.

Conceicao MM, Candeia RA, Dantas HJ, Luiz EB, Fernandes JrVJ, Silva FC, Souz A. Rheological Behaviour of Castor Oil Biodiesel. Energy and Fuels. 2005;19: 2185-2188.

Bello EI, Agge M. Production, characterization and evaluation of castor oil biodiesel as alternative fuel for diesel engines. Journal of Emerging Trends in Engineering and Applied Sciences (JETEAS). 2011;2(3):525-530.

Conceicao MM, Candeia RA, Silva FC, Bezerra AF, Fernandes VJ, Souza AG. Thermochemical characterization of castor oil biodiesel. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 2007;11(5):964-975.

Patel VR, Gerard GD, Lakshmi CKV, Randall M, Bryan JJS. Castor Oil: Properties, uses, and optimization of processing parameters in commercial production. Lipid Insights. 2016;9:1–12.

Azumbuja M, Dias AA. Use of castor oil-based polyurethane adhesive in the production of glued laminated timber beams. Material Resources. 2006;9(3): 287-291.

Ogunniyi DS. Castor oil: A vital industrial raw material. Bioresources Technology. 2006;97(9):1086–1091.

Brown D. Encyclopedia of Herbs and their Uses. New York: DK Publishing Inc; 1995.

Drown DC, Harper K, Frame E. Screening vegetable oil alcohol ester as fuel lubricity enhancer. 2001;78(6):579-584.

Willard WP. Engineering fundamentals of internal combustion engines. Prentice-Hall Limited, Singapore. 1997;323-325.

Tokada M, Horinouchi T, Yata K, Kowhakul W, Masamoto H, Shigematsu M. Reduction of the cloud point of biodiesel by combination of various factors. International Journal of Chemical Engineering and Applications. 2014;5(6): 479-482.

Ramadhas AS, Muraleedharan C, Jayaraj S. Performance ns emission evaluation of a diesel engine fuelled with methyl esters of rubber seed oil. Renewable Energy. Elsevier Science Limited. Great Britain. 2005;30:1789–1800.

Berman P, Nizri S, Wiesman Z. Castor oil biodiesel and its blends as alternative fuel. Biomass Bioenergy. 2011;35(7):2861–2866.

Scholz V, da Silva JN. Prospects and risks of the use of castor oil as a fuel. Biomass Bioenergy. 2008;32(2):95–100.

Bello EI, Otu F, Osasona A. Cetane number of three vegetable oils, their biodiesels and blends with diesel fuel. Journal of Petroleum Technology and Alternative Fuels. 2012;3(4):1-6.

Fapetu OP, Akinola AO, Lajide LL, Osasona AB. Physicochemical characteristics study of oil extracted from Raffia Palm Seed. Journal of Engineering and Engineering Technology (FUTAJEET). 2018;12(1):102-114.

Roger AB, Rebecca RA, Georges A, Mathias IO. Chemical characterization of oil from germinated nuts of several coconut cultivers (South Nuciferh L.). European Journal of Scientific Research. 2010; 391(4):541-522.

Van Gerpen J. Biodiesel production technology, a workshop for the 2008 biodiesel conference and expo. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho; 2008.

He BB, Thompson JC, Routt DW, Van Gerpen JH. Moisture absorption in biodiesel and its petro-diesel blends. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 2007; 23(1):71-76.

Salimon J, Noor DAM, Nazrizawati AT, Firdaus MYM, Noraishah A. Fatty acid composition and physicochemical properties of Malaysian castor bean Ricinus communis L. seed oil. Sains Malaysiana. 2010;39(5):761–764.

Dunford NT. Food and Industrial Bioproducts and Bioprocessing. John Wiley & Sons; 2012.