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How to refine crude palm oil into RBD palm oil?

November 14, 2019 by vegetable oil refinery  

To refine crude palm oil into RBD palm oil generally uses the physical refining process, which is preferred over the chemical refining process. Because high acidity (up to 5%) can lead to excessive loss of neutral oil in the soapstock after alkali neutralization. And ususally the crude palm oil has high content of free fatty acid, using physical refining process can better remove the free fatty acid from crude oil. [Related reading: How to remove free fatty acids from crude palm oil?]

Palm oil refining process

Palm oil physical refining process flow chart

The palm oil physical refining process flow chart is as the above picture shows. It includes degumming, decolorization, deacidification and deodorization four processes.

The degumming process of crude palm oil:
To remove the gums from crude palm oil, it usually uses dry degumming process because the gum percentage of palm oil is very less. The first step is heating the crude palm oil into 60-70 ℃, and then mixed the phosphoric acid with palm oil in the phosphoric acid reaction tank. The few gums will be absorbed by white clay in deacidification process.

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The degumming machine in palm oil refinery plant

The decolorization process of crude palm oil:
During decolorization process, the required temperature of oil is 100-110℃. The oil after heating will be mixed with the white clay in white clay mixture tank, and then go into the decolorization tower. There are plenty of small holes on the cover of white clay, which will adsorb the color of the palm oil. At last, separate the waste white clay by leaf filter.

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The decolorization machine in palm oil refinery plant

The deacidification and deodorization of crude palm oil:
Deacidification process and deodorization process are both in deodorization tower. On the top of tower is deacidification section, and on the bottom of tower is deodorization section. As the following picture shows.

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The deodorization tower in palm oil refinery plant

Under the vacuum and high temperature the FFA(free fatty acid) and bad smell will be taken out. Because the required temperature of deodorization process is very high, about 260℃, the palm oil must be deoxidized to remove the oxygen in advance to avoid the palm oil oxidation and go bad.

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