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Biodiesel Production


An alternative to Petroleum Diesel

Biodiesel Production

9. Secondary Sources

7. EE Outline

6. Setup

5. Methods

4. Variables

3. Hypothesis

2. Aim

8. Areas of Concerns

1. Research Question


Research Question

To what extent do the physical and chemical properties of manufactured Biodiesel vary with the physical and chemical properties of petroleum diesel when manufactured from different oils having different carbon chain lengths.

In simpler words:Viscosity - resistance to the movement of a fluidCalorific Value - amount of heat liberated by burning unit mass of fuel at STPFlash Point - lowest temperature at which vapours of a combustible liquid can be ignited

To find out the chemical and physical properties, by comparing 3 properties of Biodiesels - Viscosity, Calorific Value & Flash Point


A moderately lower viscosity, lower flash point and a higher calorific value is prefered in fuels. I predict that Biodiesel produced from Rapeseed oil will have the most similar chemical and physical properties to that of petroleum diesel.

Mustard OilC4H5NS

Rapeseed OilC22H42O2

Sunflower OilC16-18

Palm OilC15H29O5

Castor OilC57H104O9

Biodiesel produced from an oil with a longer carbon chain length will increase the calorific value, the viscosity & the flash point of the fuel.



TemperatureAgitation SpeedAmount of CatalystCatalyst concentrationMolar ratio of Alcohols


Calorific Value ViscosityFlash Point


Castor oil Rapeseed oil Palm oil Sunflower oil Mustard oil Methanol Ethanol


Step 1 - Manufacture Biodiesel by transesterifcation reaction in which 1 mole of triglycerides (vegetable oil) reacts with 3 moles of alcohol to produce 3 moles of alkyl esters (biodiesel) and 1 mole of glycerol, a co-product.


Heat given out by fuel = heat taken in by the water and the container

Step 5 - To calculate the calorifc value - Set up a self made calorimeter and use the principle of mixtures formula.

Step 4 - To calculate Flash Point - Keep on incresing the temperature of the biodiesel and record the minimum temperature at which the vapours of biodiesel catch fire.

Step 3 - To calculate the viscosity - Heat the biodiesel before hand at a certian temperature and measure it, either by a mechanical viscosity meter or a manual viscosity meter.

Step 2 - Place the mixture in a seperatory funnel to seperate biodiesel and the glycerol.



  • Title - Research question
  • Introduction - why i choose this topic and research question
  • Background information - Biodiesel, Viscosity, Calorifc Value and Flash Point, transesterification reaction, Factors affecting these parameters.
  • Hypothesis - results I predict for my 3 experiments
  • Variables - dependent, independent and controlled
  • Chemicals
  • Safety Requirements
  • Apparatus
  • Labelled Set up
  • Methods
  • Body paragraphs - Raw and processed data with calculations
  • Conclusion linked to hypothesis - Limitations
  • Evaluation/ Reflection - random and systematic errors
  • Bibliography

EE Outline

Availibilty of Oils

Reflecting on the reliability of my Sources


Areas of concern

  • Biodieseleducator.org
  • Osorio-González CS, Gómez-Falcon N, Sandoval-Salas F, Saini R, Brar SK, Ramírez AA. Production of Biodiesel from Castor Oil: A Review. Energies. 2020; 13(10):2467. https://doi.org/10.3390/en13102467
  • Baskar Thangaraj, Pravin Raj Solomon, Bagavathi Muniyandi, Srinivasan Ranganathan, Lin Lin, Catalysis in biodiesel production—a review, Clean Energy, Volume 3, Issue 1, March 2019, Pages 2–23, https://doi.org/10.1093/ce/zky020

Secondary sources