Process Technology For OLEO Chemical Industry

OLEO Chemicals and Source : oleo chemicals, by their name, may be defined as chemicals from oils. These could be natural fats and oils – natural oleo chemical or oils of petrochemicals origin – synthetic oleo chemicals. Fats & oils are renewable product of nature. Natural oleo chemical are derived from natural fats and oils by FAT SPLITTING OR TRANS-ESTERIFICATION.

Chemistry of Fats Splitting : fatty acids and fatty acid methyl esters are most important basic oleo chemicals for oleo chemical industry. Natural oils( palm oil, coconut oil etc) can be hydrolyzed or split into its corresponding FATTY ACID AND GLYCERINE. fatty acids and fatty acid methyl esters are most important basic oleo chemicals for oleo chemical industry.
Natural oils( palm oil, coconut oil etc) can be hydrolyzed or split into its corresponding FATTY ACID AND GLYCERINE.

  • Fat splitting is homogeneous reaction that proceeds in stage The fatty acid radical displace from triglyceride one at a time from tri to di to mono. An incomplete fat splitting is a mixture of mono, di as well as up to some extent triglyceride.
    Fat splitting is reversible reaction, at point of equilibrium, the rate of hydrolysis will be equal to re-esterification and so the glycerine as by product must be drawn countinously for the completion of forward reaction.
  • Increase in temperature (from 150°c to 220°)and pressure enhance the solubility Of oils in water by two to three times.

Process of Fat Splitting : The single stage counter current splliting process in a tower is particularly suited for the handling of larger feed rates.It operates continuously,permitting maximum heat recovery.The splitting temperature of 245-255 deg C ensures adequate dissolving of aqueous phase in the fat so that physical agitation is not required. The crude fat pass through the tower from bottom to top as a coherent phase, while the heavy splitting water travels down wards as a dispersed phase through the mixture of fat and fatty acid. Splitting efficiency of 99% and above are reached consistently.

Plant Capacity 50-400 t/d
Product and utility consumption for tallow processing products
• Degree of splitting glycerin water
• Concentration, with pre- concentration
• By flashing vapours

Approx. utility consumption per ton of crude fat
• Heating steam, 60 bar
• Colling water, 20°C
• Electrical energy
• Process water

160 kg

Fatty Acid Distillation and Fractionation : Fatty acid produced from various fats splittings process are purified by distillation and can also be separated into individual fatty- Acids by fractional distillation.
Fatty acids are very sensitive to heat, oxidation & corrosion effects due to the presence of acid group so material of construction is very important.

Technical design of distillation plant unit :

  • Distillation is carried out under high vacuum and low temperature and with the shortest residence time possible.
  • No allowance for air leakge.
  • Effective heating to achieve shorter contact time.
  • Good circulation for effective mass transfer between vapour and condensate to ensure steam economy.
  • Distilled fatty acids has almost water white colour with no impurities.

Process Principle : The fatty acid is evaporated under vacuum(occasionally with the addition of live steam for fatty acid circulation and partialm pressure reduction).

Plant Size 50-200t/d
Approx.utility consumption per ton of crude Fatty acid
• Heating steam 50 bar
• Steam 3-10 bar
• Cooling water 20°C
• Electrical energy
• Export steam 3 bar


Fatty Acid Fractionation : fractionation makes it possible to separate the fatty acid mixture in to narrower cuts Or even individual component. Detergent grade feed stock C12-C18 is separated from the whole cut by topping off the C8-C10 fraction. The middle cut, C12-C14, can be further Fractionated from the C12-C18 Cut through the multistage Fractionation by employing two or more columns.Basically, each stage uses the deaerator, heat source, fractionation column, Condensing system , and vaccum source. Vaccum system is provide Independently for each column to achieve heighst vaccum and greater recovery of desired products. The following diagram shows the fractionation process. Achievable purities are approx. 99.5% for a C12 fraction from palm kernel or coconut fwtty acid and approx. 95% for a c22 fraction from repeseed oil fatty acid, respectively.

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