Study of Physical and Chemical Properties of Cardanol Ethyl Ester for Its Suitability as Petro-Diesel

Author(s): S. Saravanakumar Chowdry and C. Sundar Raj

Biodiesels can be the best renewable alternate energy source for diesel due to its economical and eco-friendly nature. The properties of the biodiesel depend on the individual fatty esters that the biodiesel is having. Important fuel properties of biodiesel influenced by the fatty acid profile of the various fatty esters are cetane number, cold flow, oxidative stability, and viscosity. In this study cardanol oil and its ethyl ester have been chosen to find out their suitability as petro-diesel. Experimental investigations were made to find out the physico-chemical properties of cardanol biofuel extracted from cashew nutshell and their ethyl esters produced through transesterification. The cardanol ethyl ester (CEE) was characterized as an alternative diesel fuel through series of ASTM standard fuel tests. A constant speed diesel engine, which develops 5.2 kW of power, was run with biodiesels and its performance was compared with diesel fuel. The CEE had 56% reduction of viscosity at 40°C and 9.2% heat value over its crude oil. Higher cetane number, specific gravity and lower flash and fire points were observed for CEE compared with neat diesel fuel. The fatty acid composition shows 10.8% increase in saturated and 23.4% decrease in unsaturated fat after tranesterification and their values were found to be within limits set by various international standards for biodiesel.

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