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Fatty Acid Distillation:

Removal of Low & High Boiling Components from Fatty Acids

Distillation process makes use of the differences in boiling points between the desired fatty acids and the impurities, to effect a separation of these components.

Crude fatty acids produced from fats splitting process are purified by distillation, and can be separated further into individual fatty acids by fractional distillation.

Fatty acid distillation is carried out under reduced pressure (vacuum) and lowest possible temperature to ensure product stability. In the distillation, the fatty acids are vaporized and then condensed, leaving the high-boiling impurities (residue) in the distillation still.

The condensed fatty acids distillate is known as “whole cut” because fatty acids regardless of the chain lengths present in the feedstock will be condensed and collected as fatty acid distillate.

Process Description
A typical fatty acid distillation plant is designed to separate the split fatty acids into:

• Low boiling components (Light Ends)
• Distilled Fatty Acids (Product)
• High boiling components (Heavy Ends)
• Residue

a) Deaeration
Crude fatty acid is heated and subjected to vacuum in order to remove undissolved gasses before entering subsequent high temperature distillation section (to avoid undesired oxidative reaction).

b) Distillation
Fatty acid is fed to the column bottom and heated by evaporators.

Fatty acids together with low volatiles (Light
ends) will be vaporized in the evaporators.

Our falling-film type evaporator ensures gentle evaporation of fatty acids without adverse effects on the product quality and stability.

The fatty acid and light ends vapors are condensed in different stages of surface condensers.

Main fatty acid distillate is usually taken out as a middle fraction and the light ends as
the top fraction.

Heavy ends, primarily color carriers, can either be withdrawn separately of recycled directly for complete or partial re-distillation.

Heavy ends separation system is provided at the column bottom for producing product
with improved color.
Process Features:

o Structured packing for efficient distillation and separation of odor, colors from fatty acids

o Reduces thermal stress on the product by using Falling-Film Evaporator

o Use of residue recovery section to increase overall yield

o Optimized heat recovery system and produces 3 barg steam for use

o Improved product color by using heavy end section


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