Ethanol Production From Yam (Discorea Spp) Peels

Project and Seminar Material for Science Laboratory Technology SLT

Ethanol Production From Yam (Discorea Spp) Peels


This work is concerned mainly with the production of ethanol from yam (Discoria spp) peels. The yam tubers were bought from Eke Oko Market, in Orumba North L.G.A. Anambra State. The tubers were peeled and the peels washed, milled & weighed. To 1000g of the powdered wort, distilled water was added, mashed & filtered. Yeast & malt were added to the filtered wort and allowed to stand for three days for fermentation. The fermented wort was distilled to collect a colourless liguid as the distillate. This distillate was neutral to litmus test, soluble in water, forms esters with acetic acid and positive to lucas test showing it to be a primary alcohol-ethanol.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the study

Yams (Discorea spp) of the family Diocoreaceae are members of the flowering plant. They are monocots, related to palms, grasses and archids. Most yam species grow in the tropics and subtropics area with fairly heavy total annual rainfall, but with a definite day season. During the rainy season, they produced one or more underground tubers to store food and water through the dry season the tubers are thickened stems. Most yam plant have small flower with one plant having only male or female flower (Kay, 1987).

The tubers of most species of yam are poisonous to humans. The cultivation of most yams is very labour intensive. Cultivated yams generally do not produce seed and so tubers or pieces of tuber must be planted in prepared soil, most often in wounds to grow new plants.

Yams are nutritious food, providing carbohydrate, some protein, and mineral like phosphorus and potassium besides the use as food, yams have been symbolically associated with culture and ritualism in some parts of Africa, Asia and Latin Americas.

According to Ogbuka (2005) Ethanol can be produce from starch –containing substances like maize, cassava and yam. Ethanol is a monohydric alcohol that is colourless and flammable, it is a 2 –carbon alcohol with molecular formular CH3 CH2 OH, its empirical formular is C2H6O. An alternative notation is CH3CH2 OH which indicates that the carbon of a methyl group (CH3) is attached to the carbon of an ethylene group (CH2-) which is attached to the oxygen of a hydroxyl group (OH). Ethanol is a colourless liquid that burns with a smokeless blue flame. It has a choking smell and a boiling point of 780c. They are characterized by the possessing of phydroxyl group (OH) as their functional group. Alcohols can be classified as primary, secondary and tertiary. The primary alcohols have only one or no alkyl group attached to the hydroxyl bonded carbon atom, the secondary alcohol contain two alkyl group attached to the hydroxyl bonded carbon atom while the tertiary alcohol contains three alkyl groups but no hydrogen attached to the hydroxyl- bonded carbon atom while the tertiary alcohol contains three alkyl groups but no hydrogen attached to the hydroxyl-bonded carbon atoms:

According to West (2007) ethanol is a principle fuel that can be used as petrol substitute for vehicles. It is a renewable energy source produced mainly by sugar fermentation process. It is used in preservation of specimen, food e.t.c and even as a raw material in the manufacturing of chemicals and pharmaceuticals like trichloromethane

1.2 Statement of the Problems

Alcohol has been known to be produced from fossile like maize, cassava, even yam tuber but there is still need to search for other sources considering the usefulness of ethanol source, hence the need for this study. Furthermore, yam peel are regarded as waste after using the main yam tuber, therefore there is need to source for alcohol in this peel which either are throw away. This study will also reduce environmental pollution which is caused by the yam peel.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

Objectives of this study include:

  1. To extract ethanol from yam peel
  2. To carry out qualitative test on the produced ethanol

1.4 Significant of the Study

The knowledge from this study will help in creating awareness to the government as well as the society at large on the need to grow more yams. Finally this study will also help the society to know that ethanol is not just present in the yam tuber alone but also in the peels (yam peels)

1.5 Scope of Study

This study is concerned with the production of ethanol using yam peel which involves

  1. Collection and identification of the sample
  2. Preparation of the sample
  3. Production of ethanol from the sample
  4. Qualitative tests on the produced ethanol.

Chapter Five

Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Discussion

According to table1, ethanol can be produced from yam peels. These shows that yam peel can serve as a substitute to other crops that contains starch early used for ethanol production. It has been recorded that ethanol can be produced from starch containing substance like yam, cassava e.t.c (Ogbuka, 2005). Thus yam peels which hither to be regarded as waste can be another source of ethanol production even though the quality is small.

The result from table 2 equally showed the physical properties of the produced ethanol which conforms to the properties of ethanol in general and which is in agreement to that of the produced ethanol. The boiling point of ethanol is 780c but from our result it varies between +2 which is similar to the boiling point of ethanol.

From the result in table 3, the produced ethanol shows positive result to Lucas test indicating presence of primary alcohol positive result to combustion indicating an organic compound and finally shows positive result to acetic acid reaction indicating the presence of ethanol which reacts with acetic acid to form esters.

5.2 Conclusion

This work has shown that yam peels in a suitable raw material for the production of ethanol. This is due to its starch content though the product is low but still manageable.

Finally the physical & chemical properties of the produced ethanol are similar to those isolated by other sources.

5.3 Recommendation

Based on the finding of this study, the following recommendations are hereby made:

  1. Yam peels should not be thrown away but rather be used in production of ethanol.
  2. Industrialist should be encouraged to establish industries for ethanol production from yam peels.
  3. More yam farms should be established in the country to increase ethanol production.

Ethanol Production From Yam (Discorea Spp) Peels

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