This study focused on producing high quality and yield of biodiesel from novel non-edible seed oil of abundantly available wild Raphnus raphanistrum L. using an efficient, recyclable and eco-friendly copper modified montmorillonite (MMT) clay catalyst. The maximum biodiesel yield of 83% was obtained by base catalyzed transesterification process under optimum operating conditions of methanol to oil ratio of 15:1, reaction temperature of 150 °C, reaction time of 5 h and catalyst loading of 3.5%. The synthesized catalyst and biodiesel were characterized for their structural features and chemical compositions using various state-of-the-art techniques, including x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (1H, 13C) and gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy. The fuel properties of the biodiesel were estimated including kinematic viscosity (4.36 cSt), density (0.8312 kg/L), flash point (72 °C), acid value (0.172 mgKOH/g) and sulphur content (0.0002 wt.%). These properties were compared and found in good agreement with the International Biodiesel Standards of American (ASTM-951, 6751), European Committee (EN-14214) and China GB/T 20828 (2007). The catalyst was re-used in five consecutive transesterification reactions without losing much catalytic efficiency. Overall, non-edible Raphnus raphanistrum L.. seed oil and Cu doped MMT clay catalyst appeared to be highly active, stable, and cheap contenders for future biofuel industry. However, detailed life cycle assessment (LCA) studies of Raphnus raphanistrum L. seed oil biodiesel are highly recommended to assess the technical, ecological, social and economic challenges.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.