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Technical Paper

Oxidation Stability of Biodiesel Produced from Non-Edible Oils of African Origin

Mono alkyl esters of long-chain fatty acids derived from renewable lipid feedstock, such as vegetable oils or animal fats, also known as biodiesel are well positioned to replace mineral diesel. The outstanding technical problem with biodiesel is that it is more susceptible to oxidation owing to its exposure to oxygen present in the air and high temperature. This happens mainly due to the presence of varying numbers of double bonds in the free fatty acid molecules. The chemical reactivity of esters can therefore be divided into oxidative and thermal instability, which can be determined by the amount and configuration of the olefinic unsaturation in the fatty acid chains. Many of the plant-derived fatty oils contain polyunsaturated fatty acids that are more prone to oxidation. Increasing production of biodiesel from vegetable oils (edible) places strain on food production, availability and price and leads to food versus fuel conflict.