Energy and Power En gi neering, 2011, 3, 332-338
doi:10.4236/epe.2011.33041 Published Online July 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. EPE
Pyrolysis Oil from the Fruit and Cake of Jatropha curcas
Produced Usi ng a L o w Temperature Conversion (LTC)
Process: Analysis of a Pyrolysis Oil-Diesel Blend
Monique Kort-Kamp Figueiredo1, Gilberto Alves Romeiro1, Raquel Vieira Santana Silva1,
Priscila Alvares Pinto1, Raimundo Nonato Damasceno1, Luiz Antônio d’Avila2, Amanda P. Franco2
1Programa de Pós Graduação em Química, Instituto de Química, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Brasil
2Escola de Química, Centro de Tecnologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Received February 1, 2011; revised March 20, 2011; accepted April 5, 2011
Background: the LTC process is a technique that consists of heating solid residues at a temperature of 380˚C -
420˚C in an inert atmosphere and their products are evaluated individually: these products include pyrolysis
oil, pyrolytic char, gas and water. The objective of this study was to compare the effects of the use of oils
obtained by pyrolysis of Jatropha curcas as an additive for diesel in different proportions. Results: a Low
Temperature Conversion (LTC) process carried out on samples of Jatropha curcas fruit and generated pyro-
lysis oil, pyrolyic char, gas and aqueous fractions in relative amounts of 23%, 37%, 16% and 14% [w/w] re-
spectively for Jatropha curcas fruit and 19%, 47%, 12% and 22% [w/w] respectively for Jatropha curcas
cake. The oil fractions were analyzed by FTIR, 1H NMR, 13C NMR, GCMS and physicochemical analysis.
The pyrolysis oil was added to final concentrations of 2%, 5%, 10% and 20% [w/w] to commercial diesel
fuel. The density, viscosity, sulfur content and flash point of the mixtures were determined. Conclusions: the
results indicated that the addition of the pyrolysis oil maintained the mixtures within the standards of the
diesel directive, National Petroleum Agency (ANP nº 15, of 19/7/2006), with the exception of the viscosity
of the mixtures containing 20% pyrolysis oil.
Keywords: Jatropha curcas, Low Temperature Conversion, Fuel and Pyrolysis Oil
1. Introduction
The LTC process was developed and refined over many
years by Romeiro and colleagues [1-5]. This technique
consists of heating the solid residue at a temperature of
380˚C in an inert atmosphere. The LTC products are
evaluated individually: these products include pyrolysis
oil, pyrolytic char, gas and water. Conversion at a low
temperature can be seen as an alternative technology for
power generation and can be part of strategy for envi-
ronmental conservation through the reuse of waste be-
cause other waste processing methods such as incinera-
tion or landfilling are criticized for causing environ-
mental damage.
The pyrolysis process has been developed and the
technique has been modified with respect to residence
time in the pyrolysis reactor, [6] heating rate and tem-
perature according to the required analysis, Table 1
Several parameters of Low Temperature Conversion
developed by Bayer and co-works [9-12] can be varied
including residence time (1.5 - 2.0 hours), heating race
(medium), temperature (380˚C - 400˚C) and products (oil,
char, gas and water).
The LTC process involves only thermal decomposi-
tion and does not involve the use of solvents or chemical
reagents. Other methods to produce alternative fuels are
more sophisticated with respect to the instruments re-
quired. The LTC process produces pyrolysis oil that is
constituted of oxygenated compounds among others.
These oxygenated compounds increase the lubricity of
the diesel oil like as observed in the case of B2 and B5
when fossil fuels (diesel) and methyl fatty esters (bio-
diesel) are mixed.
Various biomasses sources can, in principle, be used
to produce biodiesel or used s diesel additives [13-21]. a
Table 1. Pyrolysis methods and their variations.
Pyrolysis technology Residence time Heating rate Temperature (˚C) Products
Carbonization days very low 400 charcoal
Conventional 5 - 30 min low 600 oil, gas, char
Fast 0.5 - 5 s very high 650 bio-oil
Flash liquid <1 s high <650 bio-oil
Flash gas <1 s high <650 chemicals, gas
Ultra <0.5 s very high 1000 chemicals, gas
Vacuum 2 - 30 s medium 400 bio-oil
Hydro-pyrolysis <10 s high <500 bio-oil
Metano-pyrolysis <10 s high >700 chemicals
The choice of material to use in a particular region or
country depends on various factors; however, the avail-
ability of the plant in that region is usually of major im-
portance. Clearly, the components of the plant matrix or
extract used must also be compatible with diesel oil and
must be suitable for use in diesel engines. The property
that best demonstrates this compatibility is the cetane
number and additional properties such as density, sulfur
content and flash point are important in determining the
adequacy of biofuels as alternative fuels.
Recently we described the production of pyrolysis oil
from Castor seeds via a Low Temperature Conversion
(LTC) process and showed that the use of this oil in a
pyrolysis oil-diesel blend is a good option [22].
The Jatropha curcas plant is a Euphorbia that is being
introduced in Brazil for the purpose of biodiesel produc-
tion and income generation for people of small farmers.
The use of the cake the co-product produced during the
extraction of oil, has so far been limited due to the toxic-
ity of the seed caused by the presence of curcin and
diterpene esters [23].
The objective of this study was to compare the effects
of the use of oils obtained by pyrolysis of Jatropha cur-
cas as an additive for diesel in different proportions. The
results of this study show that the pyrolysis oil can be
used as an additive and that one of the two raw materials
would be better used as an additive.
2. Methods
2.1. Low Temperature Conversion (LTC)
Samples of Jatropha curcas fruit or cake were subjected
to a Low Temperature Conversion process at 380˚C.
Each experiment was repeated seven times using 400 g
of material each time and the results for the seven repli-
cates were averaged. Each sample was placed in the cen-
tral region of a cylindrical glass tube, which was then
introduced into a reactor coupled to a condensing system.
Nitrogen gas was continuously applied, at 500 mL/min,
before the start and during the course of the process. Af-
ter 10 minutes of gas purging, heating was initiated at a
rate of 10˚C/min and the temperature was then main-
tained at 380˚C for 2 hours. After passing through the
condenser the condensable gas, pyrolysis oil and water
fractions, were collected in a graduated tube and were
separated based on density. The pyrolytic char was re-
tained in the middle of the reactor and was collected after
cooling. The non-condensed gas was passed through
three traps containing, successively, NaOH 10% (w/v),
NaHCO3 10% (w/v) and HCl 10% (w/v) solutions. Pa-
rameters such as temperature, time of reaction and nitro-
gen flow were established prior to this work by Romeiro
and co-workers, these values were determined to be the
best due to the higher yield of oil, the shorter time re-
quired for total conversion of the raw material and the
smaller amount of energy used.
2.2. Apparatus Description
The conversions were carried out in a Heraus R/O 100
batch scale instrument (Figure 1)—laboratory scale,
consisting: 1) oven; 2) dried sample; 3) glass wool; 4)
electric resistance; 5) gas N2 inlet; 6) condenser; 7 and 8)
separator funnel; 9) gas washing system [22].
2.3. Spectroscopy Analysis
2.3.1. Infrared Spectroscopy—FTIR
The FTIR spectra (400 to 4000 cm1) were obtained us-
ing a Model 1420 Perkin-Elmer Spectrometer using an
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. EPE
Figure 1. B atc h mode e qui p me n t of L T C pr oc es s— labo r at ory
NaCl window and polystyrene for calibration.
2.3.2. N uc lear Magnetic Res onance—NMR
1H NMR and 13C NMR spectra were recorded using a
Varian-Unity plus 300 (300 MHz), in CDCl3 using TMS
as the internal standard.
2.3.3. G as Chromatograph y Mass Spectrometry
The pyrolysis oil was initially separated chromatogra-
phically on a silica gel column using hexane, dichloro-
methane and methanol as successive mobile phases.
Separate fractions were then submitted for GCMS analy-
sis. The conditions used in the GC part of the GCMS
set-up were as follows: column: 25 m × 0.2 mm × 0.33
µm, based in the method used for diesel; heating:
5˚C/min from 60˚C to 300˚C and then 300˚C for 20 min-
utes; He flow rate of 0.6 mL; temperatures: t detector
250˚C, injector 280˚C and interface 300˚C. Samples of 1 -
3 µL were prepared in the reason of 1:100.
2.4. Blend Analysis: Pyrolysis Oil-Diesel
The pyrolysis oil from the LTC process was obtained as
described above and the diesel was acquired from a local
filling station. Analyses of the mixtures, which contained
2%, 5%, 10% or 20%. pyrolysis oil in commercial diesel,
[referred to as PD2, PD5, PD10 and PD20, respectively]
was carried out at the Fuel Laboratory of the School of
Chemistry of UFRJ (LABCOM—Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).
This analysis followed the standards of resolution ANP
nº 15, of 19/7/2006. The following quantities were mea-
sured: total sulfur content (ASTM D 4294), density at
15˚C and 20˚C (ASTM D 4052), flash point (ASTM D
56) and viscosity at 40˚C (ASTM D 445).
2.4.1. Sul fur Conten t (ASTM D-4294)
The amount of sulfur the sample was determined ac-
cording to ASTM standard D 4294/02, using the Sulfur
Meter Tanak Scientific device, model RX-3505. The
samples were exposed to emitted x-rays and the results
were compared with previously prepared calibration
standards. The sulfur concentration in the sample was
then calculated from the calibration curve generated in
the assay (repetitively, r = 0.02894 (X ± 0.1691) and re-
producibility, R = 0.1215 (X ± 0.05555). X is the sulfur
concentration in percentage mass.
2.4.2. Density at 20˚C (ASTM D 4052) and Density at
15˚C (ASTM D 4052)
The samples were brought into thermal equilibrium in a
thermal bath kept at 15˚C or 20˚C according to ASTM
standard D-4052. The densities were determined at each
of these temperatures. An Anton Paar, electronic ae-
rometer, model DMA 35N, was used to determine the
density at each temperature. This experiment was per-
formed in triplicate for each sample.
2.4.3. Flash Point (ASTM D 6450)
For the determination of the flash point of the samples
ASTM standard D 6450 was used. A Grabner Instru-
ments miniflash FLPH was used, this instrument can be
used to analyze the liquid products of oils that are used in
the range of 40˚C - 360˚C. The samples were assayed
separately in a system that contained the sample in an
airtight bronze cup, which was used for the constant agi-
tation of the sample. An ignition source was directed at
the cup containing the sample at regular intervals during
the agitation process; this was continued until a specific
amount of vapor was formed and caught fire as a result
of contact with the ignition source. At the time of igni-
tion, the system detected and recorded the imposed tax of
heating and the tax of agitation, as well as the flash point
of the sample. (accuracy, r = ± 1.9˚C and reproducibility,
R = ± 3.1˚C)
2.4.4. Vi scosity at 40˚C (ASTM D 44 5)
The viscosity of each sample was determined using an
Ubbelohde-certified Herzog model HVB-438 viscometer
in a thermal bath, in accordance with ASTM standard
D-445. The time required for the oil to drain out of the
viscometer was determined and the viscosity was calcu-
lated using the equation η = t. C, where t = the draining
time in seconds and C = a constant inherent to the di-
mensions of the specific viscometer. Each experiment
was performed in triplicate.
3. Results and Discussion
The LTC of the Jatropha curcas fruit and cake was car-
ried out under a constant nitrogen flow at 380˚C, as in-
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. EPE
dicated in the experimental section. This process resulted
in the production of four fractions: pyrolysis oil [23%],
an aqueous fraction [12%], pyrolytic char [41%] and gas
[24%] for Jatropha curcas fruit and pyrolysis oil [19%],
an aqueous fraction [12%], pyrolytic char [47%] and gas
[22%] for Jatropha curcas cake.
3.1. Spectroscopy Analyses of the Crude Oil
Significant absorptions in the FTIR spectra of the crude
pyrolysis oil, were found at 3418 cm–1 (axial deformation
of OH); 2920 cm–1 and 2854 cm–1 (axial deformation of
C-C aliphatic); 1700 cm–1 (carbonyl group) and 1463
cm–1 (angular deformation of CH3 and CH2) for Jatropha
curcas fruit and 3407 cm–1 (axial deformation of OH);
2923 cm–1 and 2873 cm–1 (axial deformation of C-C ali-
phatic); 1737 cm–1 (carbonyl group) and 1466 cm–1 (an-
gular deformation of CH3 and CH2) for Jatropha curcas
cake. The absorptions observed by FTIR show that the
mixture contained hydrocarbons and carbonyl com-
pounds in both cases and that there were probably hy-
drogen bonds are present.
In order to compare the 1H NMR data of the comer-
cial diesel and the crude pyrolysis croud oil, we consi-
dered the “Total aromatic” (δ 6.3 - 9.3 ppm) and “Total
aliphatic” (δ 0.5 - 4.5 ppm) regions in the 1H NMR spec-
tra. The high number of aliphatic hydrogens in both
spectra demonstrated the presence of sp3 carbons. The
most important difference was the presence of olefinic
compounds in the pyrolysis oil from Jatropha curcas
fruit and cake.
The oils were then chromatographically separated
using, hexane, dichloromethane and methanol as mobile
phases. The fraction obtained with hexane (the apolar
fraction) was analyzed by GCMS (retention times and
m/z peaks) and 44 hydrocarbons were observed: 14
alkanes from C9 to C30, 22 alkenes from C9 to C20, 5
alkyl-aromatic compound and 3 alkyl-aliphatic com-
ponds, Table 2. In the polar fractions, which were
eluted with dichloromethane and methanol, Table 3, it
was observed 8 acids (66%), 1 ester, 1 aldehyde and 1
In order to try to elucidate how these changes occured
at 380˚C we compared the composition of the Jatropha
curcas sample with the compounds obtained in the
chromatographic analysis. The composition of the sam-
ple before was as follows:
37% triglycerides, the identity of which depended on
the fatty acid structure and distribution: palmitic—
C16:0; palmitoleic—C16:1; estearic—C18:0; oleic—
C18:1; linoleic—C18:2 and eicosanoic—C20:0 acids;
Table 2. Main compounds detected in the hexane fraction
by GCMS of the Jatropha curcas fruit and cake.
Compounds RT Quality m/z
1-nonene 3.075 90 126
nonane 3.194 93 128
1-decene 4.773 95 140
decane 4.950 97 142
(Z)-2-decene 5.054 94 140
(E)-2-decene 5.231 93 140
butylbenzene 6.196 97 134
1-undecene 7.025 97 154
undecane 7.233 97 156
(Z)-2-undecene 7.350 94 154
(E)-2-undecene 7.549 92 154
pentylbenzene 8.667 95 148
isobutyltoluene 8.875 90 148
1-dodecene 9.583 95 196
dodecane 9.808 97 170
(Z)-2-dodecene 9.926 96 168
(E)-2-dodecene 10.149 93 168
hexylbenzene 11.353 93 162
1-tridecene 12.225 96 224
tridecane 12.460 93 196
(Z)-2-tridecene 12.559 93 196
heptylbenzene 14.057 90 176
1-tetradecene 14.825 96 252
tetradecane 15.042 98 198
(Z)-2-tetradecene 15.156 91 198
undecylcyclopentane 16.233 94 224
1-pentadecene 17.342 97 210
pentadecane 17.558 98 212
n-pentadecylcyclohexane 18.767 91 294
cyclohexadecane 19.400 94 224
(Z)-8-hexadecene 19.542 93 224
1-hexadecene 19.733 96 210
hexadecane 19.925 96 240
(Z)-2-hexadecene 20.017 94 224
8-heptadecene 21.667
96 238
1-heptadecene 22.028 96 238
heptadecane 22.200 96 240
1-octadecene 24.191 92 252
octadecane 24.333 96 254
nonadecene 26.381 92 268
eicosane 28.344 93 282
heneicosane 30.224 94 296
docosane 32.019 93 310
tricosane 33.790 92 324
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. EPE
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. EPE
Table 3. GC/MS analysis of the pyrolysis oil, polar fraction,
obtained by LTC proce ss.
Compounds RT (min) Quality m/z (other fragments)
Tridecane 16.84 81 184 (43, 57, 71, 141)
Heptilbenzene 18.06 91 176 (43, 77, 91, 105)
Tetradecane 18.60 87 198 (43, 57, 71, 85, 99)
Heptadecane 22.76 96 240 (57, 71, 85, 99, 141)
Methyl tridecanoate 25.36 94 228 (74, 87, 129, 143)
Tetradecanoic acid 26.64 86 228 (60, 73, 129, 185)
9-octadecenoic acid 28.26 83 282 (55, 60, 73, 129)
63% ash, protein, fiber and lignin.
When molecules are heated to high enough tempera-
tures, the bonds break and radicals are formed. The nor-
mal energy power of the C-C bond is about 90 kcal/mol,
and thermal excitation of molecules at a temperature of
450˚C - 650˚C is required to break C-C bonds. For ex-
ample, this is the temperature region in which thermal
cracking of oil occurs. However, some compounds that
have exceptionally weak bonds break down to form
radicals at lower temperatures and these compounds can
be used to initiate radical reactions at temperatures from
50˚C to 150˚C. Thus, comparing the results obtained at
380˚C, by LTC, the GCMS of the hexane fraction after
conversion it is clear that at this high temperature, the
triglycerides, protein, fiber and lignin may undergo de-
hydratation (–H2O), decarboxylation (–CO2), decarbon-
ylation (–CO), deamination (–NH3), radical fragmenta-
tions (R. or Ar.), recombination reactions and rear-
rangement reactions, thereby generating different hydro-
carbons. In the polar fraction, eluted with dichloro-
methane and methanol we can imagine the same thermal
mechanism accuring.
The Jatropha curcas cake obtained results similar to
those for the Jatropha curcas fruit, this result is unsure-
prising because the composition is the same. The only
difference between the fruit and the cake is that the oil
has been extracted from the cake.
The pyrolysis oil obtained in this work was miscible
with commercial diesel in all ratios. Based on the large
number of articles concerning additives for diesel [20]
and in order to investigate the quality of the pyrolysis oil
obtained using LTC we blended pyrolysis oil and diesel
in different ratios in a manner similar to that previously
described by Romeiro for Castor seeds [22].
3.2. Characteristics of the Pyrolysis Oil-Diesel
(PD) Blend Versus Diesel
The results of the analysis are listed in Table 4. All mea-
surements were made using mixtures of diesel as a ref-
erence. From the data presented it can be deduced that
pyrolysis oil mixed with commercial diesel at concentra-
tions up to 10% pyrolysis oil does not cause significant
alterations in the specifications of the commercial diesel.
With the exception of the viscosity of the 20% pyrolysis
oil mixture, the standards of resolution ANP were met.
Theoil from pyrolysis usually dark, has a strong smell
and contains a large amount of particulate matter. These
characteristics along with others characteristics such as
viscosity, can be improved by mixing pyrolysis oil with
Table 4. Results obtained for the mixtures of the pyrolysis oil and commercial diesel.
Analysis Sulfur content Density at 15˚C Density at 20˚C Viscosity kinematics Flash point
Unit % m/m g/cm3 g/cm3 Mm2/s ˚C
Specification for diesel 0.820 0.865 2.0 - 5.0 Min. 38
Diesel (reference) 0.042 0.839 0.836 3.59 84.0
*PD2 0.038 0.8468 0.8435 3.45 86.0
*PD5 0.036 0.8483 0.8450 3.78 87.0
*PD10 0.069 0.8502 0.8469 4.14 87.0
*PD20 0.061 0.8528 0.8495 6.23 91.0
**PD2 0.036 0.8446 0.8413 3.74 88.0
**PD5 0.040 0.8465 0.8432 4.04 87.0
**PD10 0.043 0.8503 0.8470 4.54 87.0
**PD20 0.113 0.8579 0.8546 6.48 83.0
PD: pyrolysis oil-diesel blend; *Pyrolysis oil from Jatropha curcas fruit; **Pyrolysis oil from Jatropha curcas cake.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. EPE
other fuels. The experiments performed here show that
mixtures containing up to 10% pyrolysis oil in diesel can
be made without considerably changing in the properties
of the fuel.
Pyrolysis oil can be used as a fuel for stationary en-
gines and can be mixed with other fuels, such as diesel or
alcohol, to improve your application.
4. Conclusions
Jatropha curcas fruit and cake have been found to be a
useful renewable sources of pyrolysis oil. Jatropha cur-
cas cake is a byproduct of the production of biodiesel
and is not currently being used, the cake is correntely a
waste product. It was noted that the results for the mate-
rials used were very similar. Binary mixtures of diesel
and pyrolysis oil containing up to 10% pyrolysis oil
(PD10) were very effective. Binary mixtures containing
between 10% and 20% (PD20) were not very effective
because the viscosity and sulfur content of these mix-
tures were above the standards of the ANP resolution.
This could be a problem in diesel engines as the fuel
lines can get hot and decomposition of the fuel at high
temperatures could plug the injectors. Therefore the oil
obtained by the LTC needs further study to improve the
characteristics of the oil. It is important to stress that no
organic solvents, no reagents and very simple assemblies
were used in the LTC process. Thus the LTC processing
of Jatropha curcas is a very promising, environmentally
friendly and potentially commercially viable process for
producing second-generation fuel.
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