Submitted to: Fuel
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 23, 2006
Publication Date: April 1, 2006
Citation: Holser, R.A., Harry-O'Kuru, R.E. 2006. Transesterified milkweed (asclepias) seed oil as a biodiesel fuel. Fuel. 85(14/15):2106-2110. Interpretive Summary: Biodiesel is an alternative fuel for diesel engines that can be prepared from natural fats and oils. The seed oil from a common North American weed, Asclepias, was converted into biodiesel by mixing the seed oil with either methyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol and a catalyst. The fuel properties were tested in the laboratory to confirm that it was acceptable as a diesel fuel. The milkweed biodiesel met the performance standards established for biodiesel fuel in the United States. The development of alternative fuels produced from a domestic and renewable source such as milkweed oil can reduce the amount of imported petroleum fuels needed to meet current energy demands.
Technical Abstract: The methyl and ethyl esters of Milkweed (Asclepias) seed oil were prepared and compared to soya esters in laboratory tests to determine biodiesel fuel performance properties. The pour points of the methyl and ethyl milkweed esters measured -6 deg C and -10 deg C, respectively, which is consistent with the high unsaturation characteristic of milkweed seed oil. The oxidative stabilities measured at 100 deg C were between 1.4 and 1.8 hr for all samples tested. The kinematic viscosities determined at 40 deg C by ASTM D 445 were 4.6 mm2/s for milkweed methyl esters and 4.2 mm2/s for methyl soyate. Lubricity values determined by ASTM D 6079 at 60 deg C were comparable to the corresponding soya esters with average ball wear scar values of 146 um for milkweed methyl esters and 200 um for milkweed ethyl esters.