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Direct Production of Biodiesel from Non-edible Oilseeds by Reactive Extraction


A UKIERI-funded Project


Partners: Newcastle University and IIP, Dehradun (Indian Institute of Petroleum)

Start Date: 1st April 2008

End Date: 31st March 2011


Research Exchanges/Visits:

  • GB → UK:

    • May 2008: Kaul, Garg, Goyal

    • Nov 2009: Kaul, Garg, Porwal, Bagwai

  • UK → GB

    • June 2008: Lee, Harvey, Kasim, Wan Yusof, Zakaria

    • May 2010: Lee, Harvey, Kasim, Eterigho




Project Description:

Biodiesel is a sustainable alternative to crude oil-derived Diesel (“petrodiesel”). It is currently produced by reacting vegetable oils with methanol in the presence of an alkaline liquid catalyst to produce fatty acid methyl esters (the biodiesel), and glycerol (as a by-product). Its lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions are significantly lower than petrodiesel’s, as the plants that produce the vegetable oil take in carbon dioxide as they grow, and this carbon is released upon combustion of the fuel. Use of biodiesel also reduces vehicular emissions of pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and particulates, and extends engine lifetime due to its high lubricity. Biodiesel will not solve all our future transport fuel problems, but it is a measure that can be implemented immediately, as it can be mixed with petrodiesel in any ratio to form a viable fuel, and use the same distribution infrastructure.


The aim of this project is to increase the efficiency of biodiesel production by developing an integrated process combining the extraction of non-edible vegetable oil (such as jatropha and pongamia) from oilseeds with reaction of that oil to biodiesel in a one-step “reactive extraction” process. This should facilitate distributed production of biodiesel, principally by oilseed farmers, who the technology would enable to produce biodiesel on-site. The technology will be suitable for use in developing countries, where it can compensate for poor supply of fossil fuel-derived transport fuels, particularly in remote communities.


The advantages of successful development of such a process are a reduction in capital cost and reduced waste, meaning that biodiesel can be produced at a lower cost, with less environmental impact. Capital cost of plants would be reduced by reducing the number of process steps (the crushing step, for one, becomes unnecessary). The intention is to integrate as many of the steps of the oil extraction and biodiesel production steps as possible. Environmental impact will be reduced by tailoring the process to ensure that every by-product is saleable, or its volume minimised.


Newcastle Visit to IIP | Dehradun (India) | June 2008



 Last modified: 11-Jul-2022