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Fuel Properties of Pongamia (Milletia pinnata) Seeds and Pods Grown in Hawaii

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journal contribution
posted on 26.03.2021, 00:15 by Jinxia Fu, Sabrina Summers, Trevor J. Morgan, Scott Q. Turn, William Kusch
Pongamia, a leguminous, oilseed-bearing tree, is a potential resource for renewable fuels in general and sustainable aviation fuel in particular. The present work characterizes physicochemical properties of reproductive materials (seeds and pods) from pongamia trees grown in different environments at five locations on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, USA. Proximate and ultimate analyses, heating value, and elemental composition of the seeds, pods, and de-oiled seed cake were determined. The oil content of the seeds and the properties of the oil were determined using American Society for Testing and Materials and American Oil Chemist’s Society methods. The seed oil content ranged from 19 to 33 wt % across the trees and locations. Oleic (C18:1) was the fatty acid present in the greatest abundance (47 to 60 wt %), and unsaturated fatty acids accounted for 77 to 83 wt % of the oil. Pongamia oil was found to have similar characteristics as other plant seed oils (canola and jatropha) and would be expected to be well suited for hydroprocessed production of sustainable aviation fuel. Nitrogen-containing species is retained in the solid phase during oil extraction, and the de-oiled seed cake exhibited enrichment in the N content, ∼5 to 6%, in comparison with the parent seed. The pods would need further treatment before being used as fuel for combustion or gasification owing to the high potassium and chlorine contents.