SYNTHESIS OF BIO-LUBRICANT FROM VEGETABLE OILS. A RESEARCH PROJECT TOPICS ON CHEMICAL ENGINEERING
This thesis aimed at the production of biolubricant from vegetable oils. The first stage produced methyl ester of the oil and in the second stage; the methyl ester was transesterified with Trimethylolpropane (TMP) in a ratio of 3.5:1 at 1500C to produce the biolubricant. The pour points biolubricant and its blend were significantly improved when compared to that of raw oils. The pour point for Jatropha oil improved from 6.5 to -8 to -13, Moringa oil from 6 to -8 to -15, Castor oil from 5 to -4 to -30 and Cotton seed oil from 4°C to -6°C to -16°C respectively. Similarly the viscosity index of Jatropha oil reduced from 220.70 to 216, Moringa oil from 224.70 to 197.75, Castor oil from 96.42 to 88.32, and Cotton seed oil from 213.12 to 198.57 respectively. As the temperature increased from 300C to 100 the viscosity reduces by 37.97, 53.46, 69.58 and 39.32 cSt. The GC-MS result shows that the oils contained more of unsaturated ricinoleic, and linoleic acid than saturated fatty acid of caproic, capric, palmitic and stearic acid. It was found that the biolubricant produced was comparable to the ISO VG-32 and VG-46 commercial standards for light and industrial gears applications respectively.
The environmental threats posed by the fossil fuels are currently a major global concern. Fossil fuels are increasingly associated with the emissions of greenhouse gases, majorly CO2, leading to climate change, emergence of drought, spread of diseases and variation in population sizes of both plant and animal species (Lashof and
Ahuja, 1990). The depletion of the world’s crude oil reserve, increasing crude oil prices, and issues related to conservation have brought about renewed interest in the use of bio-based materials. Fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal and natural gas, which have been used to meet the energy needs of man, are associated with negative environmental impacts such as global warming (Munack et al., 2001; Saravanan et al.,
2007). Supply of these non-renewable energy sources is threatening to run out in a foreseeable future (Sambo, 1981; Munack et al., 2001). It has been widely reported that not less than ten major oil fields from the 20 largest world oil producers are already experiencing decline in oil reserves.
The contact pressures between devices in close proximity and moving relative to each other are usually sufficient to cause surface wearing, frictions and generation of excessive heat without protector (Hassan et al. 2006). These friction, wear and excessive heat have to be controlled by a process or technique called lubrication. Lubrication is the process or technique employed in reducing wear or tear of one or both surfaces in close proximity and moving relative to each other by interposing a substance called lubricant.