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PONAGAMIA

Improved cultivated Pongamia trees yield

From year-3 it yields pods and production is a mature average of 160kG per tree per year from year-10, through to its life of 100 years.

Ten trees can yield : 400 litres of oil,
         : 1200 kg of fertiliser grade oil cake
         : 2500kg of biomass as green manure per year.

Biodiesel was prepared from the non-edible oil of Pongamia pinnata by transesterification of the crude oil with methanol in the presence of KOH as catalyst.

A maximum conversion of 92% (oil to ester) was achieved using a 1:10 molar ratio of oil to methanol at 60 C.
Tetrahydrofuran (THF), when used as a co-solvent increased the conversion to 95%.

Solid acid catalysts viz. HB-Zeolite, Montmorillonite K-10 and ZnO were also used for this transesterification.
Important fuel properties of methyl esters of Pongamia oil (Biodiesel) compare well (Viscosity = 4.8 Cst @ 40 C and Flash point = 150 C) with ASTM and German biodiesel standards.