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Moringa oleifera

Biodiesel from moringa

Moringa oleifera leaf extract can be used as an antioxidant additive

J. M. GARG / WIKICOMMONSMoringa oleifera leaf extract can be used as an antioxidant additive J. M. GARG / WIKICOMMONS

The oil from the seeds of Moringa oleifera, a tree known as moringa, native to India and now commonly found in northeastern Brazil, can be used in the production of biodiesel. An extract of moringa leaves can also be used to produce antioxidant additives that delay the fuel’s chemical breakdown. As described in a study published in the April 15, 2015 issue of the journal Fuel, researchers from the Federal University of Uberlândia (UFU) produced moringa-based biodiesel with physical-chemical properties that meet the specifications of the Brazilian regulatory agencies. The oxidative stability of the moringa biodiesel was superior to that of most fuels produced in Brazil. Oxidative stability refers to the period during which a substance is able to maintain certain properties before degradation sets in. This breakdown process — a chemical reaction called oxidation — leads to the production of compounds that can corrode an engine and obstruct its injection system. This means that the longer a fuel takes to oxidize, the better its quality and efficiency. In the study, the researchers added an extract of moringa tree leaves to samples of biodiesel made from soy, corn, canola, and sunflower. The extract increased the oxidative stability of these fuels. “Our results demonstrate the antioxidant potential of M. oleifera leaf extract as an additive for biodiesel,” says chemist Rodrigo Muñoz, principal author of the study.