Jatropha Oil Extraction

Methods and Devices for Extracting Jatropha Oil

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:

  1. 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.

Since the recognition of jatropha as an alternative energy sources (namely, biofuel), jatropha oil extraction methods have also gained due importance in the market. Since jatropha oil is the primary ingredient required in the production of biofuels, the development of oil extraction methods and the optimization of existing methods of extracting the oil have become significant.



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  1. Oil Expellers:
    Different kinds of oil expellers are used for the purpose of jatropha oil extraction. The most commonly used ones are the Sayari oil expeller (also called the Sundhara oil expeller) and the Komet Expeller.

    The Sayari expeller is a diesel-operated oil extraction device that was originally developed in Nepal. It is now being developed for use in Tanzania and Zimbabwe for the purpose of jatropha oil extraction and oil cake preparation. The prototype included heavy parts made of cast iron. The lighter version has the cast iron replaced with iron sheets. A model driven by electricity is also available.

    The Komet expeller is a single-screw oil expeller that is often used for extracting jatropha oil from the seeds and also for the preparation of oil cakes.

  2. Traditional Methods:
    Traditional methods by which the oil is extracted from the seeds by hand using simple implements are still practiced in rural and less developed areas.

  3. Modern Concepts:
    Methods like ultrasonication have been discovered to be effective in increasing the percentage of jatropha oil that can be extracted using chemical methods like aqueous enzymatic treatment. The optimum yield for such methods has been discovered to be around 74%.

    Jatropha oil extraction methods are still being researched. The goal of such researches is to discover methods to extract a greater percentage of jatropha oil from the seeds than the current procedures allow.

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