Abstract: Production of Biodiesel and optimization of transesterification process variables affecting biodiesel production is worthy of continued study because of its environmentally beneficial attributes and its renewable nature. Optimization of process variables will maximize biodiesel yield with effective reduction in production costs. The process variables affecting the yield and characteristics of biodiesel produced from Karanja (Pongamia Pinnata) vegetable oil were studied, the achieved results were analyzed and a set of recommendations proposed. From the obtained results, the best yield percentage was obtained using oil/methanol ratio (v/v) of 10:1, potassium hydroxide as catalyst 0.9% (w/v), reaction temperature of 660 C and reaction duration of 105minutes at stirring speed of 450 rpm. The yield percentage of biodiesel obtained was 91% under optimum conditions. From the results it was clear that the produced biodiesel fuel was within the recommended standards of biodiesel fuel.
Keywords: Biodiesel, vegetable oil, transesterification, optimization and quality assessment.