Jatropha Oil Refining

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Jatropha oil is vegetable oil produced from the seeds of the Jatropha curcas, a plant that can grow in marginal lands. According to the Turkish Agricultural Guide Organization, each seed is 40 percent oil and one square mile of jatropha is capable of yielding 2000 barrels of biodiesel fuel.
Generally speaking, lye as a catalyst to break the oil's triglyceride chain and reduce its viscosity will be used in the jatropha oil refining process. Lye breaks the triglyceride chain by removing the binding glycerin molecule. The remaining jatropha oil molecules are combined with methanol to make the biodiesel.

Jatropha Oil Refining Steps

1. Pour the methanol and lye into the plastic container and screw on the cap tightly. Swirl and shake the container to dissolve the lye. Wait until the liquid is clear with no undissolved particles to continue.
2. Heat the jatropha oil to 130 degrees Fahrenheit and pour it into the blender. Add the methanol/lye mixture from the plastic container. Cap the blender tightly and mix on low for at least 30 minutes.
3. Pour the mixture from the blender into one of the glass bottles. Screw the lid on tightly and let the mixture settle for at least 24 hours.
4. Uncap the bottle and remove the layer of biodiesel to a second, clean glass bottle and cap tightly. Leave the darker layer of glycerin sludge that's settled at the bottom of the first bottle.
5. Poke a tiny hole in the bottom side of each of the two plastic bottles and seal the holes with duct tape.
6. Wash the Jatropha oil l by pouring it into one of the plastic bottles and adding 16.9 ounces of tap water and agitating the mixture until the oil and water appear thoroughly combined. Let the bottle sit for at least three hours, then remove the duct tape and drain the water from the bottom of the bottle. Block the hole with a finger when the water is gone and the Jatropha oil is reached and transfer the biodiesel into the second plastic bottle. Repeat the washing three times for a total of four washes. Retape the hole in the first bottle and use these two bottles back and forth for the four washings.
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