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As the need for healthier fats and oils (natural vitamin and trans fat contents) and interest in biofuels are growing, many changes in the world's vegetable oil market are driving the oil industry to developing new technologies and recycling traditional ones. Computational simulation is widely used in the chemical and petrochemical industries as a tool for optimization and design of (new) processes, but that is not the case for the edible oil industry. Thin-film deodorizers are novel equipment developed for steam deacidification of vegetable oils, and no work on the simulation of this type of equipment could be found in the open literature. This paper tries to fill this gap by presenting results from the study of the effect of processing variables, such as temperature, pressure and percentage of stripping steam, in the final quality of product (deacidified palm oil) in terms of final oil acidity, the tocopherol content and neutral oil loss. The simulation results have been evaluated by using the response surface methodology. The model generated by the statistical analysis for tocopherol retention has been validated by matching its results with industrial data published in the open literature. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

This work is a continuation of our previous works ( Ceriani and Meirelles 2004a, 2006; Ceriani et al. 2008 ), dealing with the simulation of continuous deodorization and/or steam deacidification for a variety of vegetable oils using stage-wised columns, and analyzing both the countercurrent and the cross-flow patterns. In this work, we have studied thin-film deodorizers, which are novel equipment developed for steam deacidification of vegetable oils. Here, we highlight issues related to final oil product quality and the corresponding process variables.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Chemical and Biochemical EngineeringTechnical University of DenmarkDK-2800 Lyngby, Denmark

Publication date: 2010-02-01

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