Assessment of the process of cottonseed oil bleaching in hexane
Keywords:Bleaching, Cottonseed, Hexane, Oil, Refining in miscella phase
This work has been initiated to assess the feasibility of bleaching cottonseed oil in miscella as a processing step next to alkali refining in miscella. Alkali refining of cottonseed oil in miscella has several advantages over conventional refining technologies with respect to oil quality, oil losses and process cost. Therefore, the process efficiency of the bleaching of cottonseed oil in presence of hexane (at a volumetric ratio of 1:1), has been studied and compared to that without solvent. The process efficiency has been evaluated according to the decolourization capacity, the oil losses on spent earth, the filtration rate of the oil from the clay and the acidity of the bleached oil as well as its peroxide content. The bleaching in presence of hexane was carried out at 25ºC whereas that by conventional bleaching at 110ºC. Different clay loads were used in each of the two bleaching techniques and the colour indices of the oils before and after bleaching determined in each case. The results were used to predict Freundlich adsorption equations for the oil pigments in both cases. These equations were then used to predict the colour of the oils obtained by bleaching of refined oils of different grades. The results have shown that oil decolourization is more efficient in presence of solvent when the starting oil is of an acceptable grade and the reverse is true for low grade oils. Also, the possibility of oil oxidation during bleaching is less in presence of solvent. Moreover, the bleaching in miscella has proved two other additional advantages over conventional bleaching. The filtration of oil from clay is much faster in miscella bleaching and the oil losses on spent earth is lower. This will be reflected on the overall process economy.
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