Source of Jatropha Oil
The plant that is generally cultivated for the purpose of extracting jatropha oil is Jatropha curcas. The seeds are the primary source from which the oil is extracted. Owing to the toxicity of jatropha seeds
, they are not ingested by humans. The major goal of jatropha cultivation, therefore, is performed for the sake of extracting jatropha oil
Variations in the Yield of Jatropha Oil
It is often considered that a more effective extraction technique would yield greater quantities of oil. This is partly inaccurate, since an effective extraction method would only yield the optimum quantity and not more than that. The optimum oil content in jatropha
plants varies between species and genetic variants.
Climatic and soil conditions generally affect the yield of the oil as well. However, improper processing techniques such as prolonged exposure of the harvested seeds to direct sunlight can impair the oil yield considerably.
The maximum oil content that has been reported in jatropha seeds has been close to 47%. However, the accepted average is 40%, and the fraction that can be extracted is taken to be around 91%.
Methods and Devices for Jatropha Oil Extraction
Some of the methods that are usually employed for the extraction of jatropha oil are as follows:
- Oil Presses:
Oil presses have been used for the purpose of oil extraction as simple mechanical devices - either powered or manually driven. Among the different oil presses that are used for jatropha oil extraction, the most commonly used presses include the Bielenberg ram press.
The Bielenberg ram press involves the traditional press method to extract oil and prepares oil cakes as well as soaps. It is a simple device that yields around 3 liters of oil per 12 kg of seed input.