Characterization of Palm Oil as Base Feedstock for Bio-lubricant Production
Keywords:Bio-lubricant, Base oil, Biodegradable oil, Palm oil, Lubrication, Viscosity index
Petroleum-based lubricants have dominated the range of lubricants in industrial and domestic machinery. With the global call to the reduction in fossil fuel consumption and the finite nature of petroleum deposit, interest is increasing in finding alternative lubricants that are environmentally friendly and cost-effective. One of such alternatives is lubricant from biomaterials (biomass). In this study, the characterization of palm Oil (oil) as a base oil for bio-lubricant production is carried out with a view to determining the inherent properties of the oil necessary for its use as the base oil for bio-lube production. Three samples of raw palm oil were sourced from open markets within the South-West, South-East and South-South regions in Nigeria. Each of the samples was divided into two in which one half was bleached and the other used as supplied. Prior to bleaching, the sample was degummed, neutralised and then bleached to improve their qualities. Kaolin clay was used to produce the bleaching agent used to bleach the samples. The raw and bleached samples were analysed for their respective lubricating characteristics. The physicochemical properties were tested for and compared with two commercial petroleum-based lubricants. The results show that raw palm oil has inherent lubricating properties that could enable its use as the base oil for bio-lubricants production. It was also observed that irrespective of the source of the oils, all the raw palm oil samples have similar viscosity with the same pattern of viscosity variation with temperature. Furthermore, there was a positive bleaching effect on all the properties of the oils such as improved colour, acid levels, reduced volatile content, high flash point and density.
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