Oil Conversion to Biodiesel


Jatropha oil is ideally suited for conversion to biodiesel

Jatropha oil, like most plant oils is a triglyceride. This means that the oil is an ester in which three fatty acid molecules are bound to a trihydric alcohol, glycerol. The composition of the fatty acids in different plant oils varies widely. The following tables show the fatty acid composition and some important chemical and physical properties of Jatropha oil.

Average fatty acid composition (%) of Jatropha curcas seed oil:

Oleic acid (C-18:1)35-51%
Linoleic acid (C-18:2)27-42%
Palmitic acid (C-16:0)9-22%
Stearic acid (C-18:0)5-8%
Arachidic acid (C-20:0)0-2%
Myristic acid (C-14:0)0-2%
Palmitoleic acid (C-16:1)0-1%


Typical physical/chemical properties of Jatropha curcas seed oil:

Calorific value37.8 MJ/kg
AppearanceLight yellow liquid
Specific gravity at 30°/30°0.92
Acid value1.24
Saponification value197
Iodine value102
Unsaponifiable matter0.004

Jatropha oil also has a high cetane number making it an excellent vegetable oil fuel for direct use in engines modified for the use of straight vegetable oils in cars and electricity generators.


Prof. Oliver

“Lessons from the past experiences should guide us in making jatropha plantations successful in future.”