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The cycle of biodiesel production from Crambe abyssinica in Portugal

Costa, E., Almeida, M.F., Alvim-Ferraz, C., Dias, J.M.
Industrial crops and products 2019 v.129 pp. 51-58
Crambe abyssinica, biodiesel, cold, cooking fats and oils, crambe seed oil, fuel production, harvesting, lipid content, mixing, oxidative stability, seeds, sowing, viability, viscosity, Brazil, Portugal
Biodiesel is usually produced from edible oils which compete with the food market. Crambe abyssinica is a non-food crop referred as having high potential for biodiesel production. An entire cycle of seeding, harvesting, oil extraction and biodiesel production was performed with Crambe; probably, the first study carried out with this specie in Portugal aiming to evaluate its full viability. Biodiesel was produced from crude and refined oil of Crambe seeds cultivated (oil content of 26 ± 4 wt.%) and the results were compared to those obtained using a commercial oil originated from Brazil, where most studies are found. Biodiesel produced from the oil extracted from the Portuguese seeds showed good quality fulfilling almost all the requirements settled by EN 14214. The viscosity (5.80 mm2 s−1) and the cold filter plugging point (7 °C), which are mostly associated with the oil’s nature, were close to the limits, indicating the need for blending at an industrial scale. Anyway, the biodiesel produced with the refined oil showed the highest quality, due to the lower level of contaminants. The high oxidation stability (16 h) of the biodiesel produced from seeds cultivated in Portugal can be argued as an advantage for this product. The study shows that Crambe oil might be a promising complementary alternative to the conventional edible oils used for biodiesel production.