Physical and mechanical properties of Jatropha curcas seed grown up in Colombia
Biodiesel from Jatropha curcas seeds is one promissory option in the biofuels field. This is a crop that develops in tropical countries which can grow on marginal soils with low irrigation and helps to control the erosion. This bush grows quickly and produces seeds with approximately 35% oil content and it does not compete with food crops. However, for the production of biodiesel from Jatropha to be sustainable and profitable it is required research and technological development at all stages of the production chain. This article shows the results of a research process that aims the determination of some significant physical and mechanical characteristics of Jatropha curcas seeds. This data are important, because they provide necessary information in the design of equipment and processes for Jatropha curcas oil production; especially, for mechanical oil extraction. As a result of the research process different properties were determined, for example: compression (2.8 mm) and energy (332 N.mm) required for fracture, average dimensions of seeds (length: 10.8 mm/width: 17.8 mm/thickness: 8.6 mm), fractions of shell (38%) and albumen (62%) in the seed, moisture content of seed (5.2%), oil content (29%), calorific value of shell (0.3 MJ/kg) and albumen (0.8 MJ/kg). All these variables are important parameters in the design of equipment, but also are useful to evaluate alternative uses for by-products of the oil extraction process, for example as energy source. Besides, the available information in Colombia about Jatropha
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