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Fatty Acid Fractionation

To produce High Purity Fatty Acid Fractions

Fractional distillation (or thermal fractionation) allows the separation of fatty acid mixtures into a narrower cuts or even individual component, based on different boiling characteristics of components.

Detergent-grade feedstock 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 column.

Fractionation column system consists of mainly deaerator, fractionation column, heating system, condensing system and vacuum system.

Fatty acids are heated using falling-film evaporator. Fallingfilm evaporators allow fatty acid to be evaporated gently and ensure low residence time.

Fatty acid fractionated in packed column equipped with structured packing which allow highseparation efficiency and low pressure drop. The fatty acid vapor is condensed using surface condenser and steam generator (for the case of heat recovery).

Process Description
Fatty acid fractionation plant is designed to separate the fatty acids into fatty acid fractions or individual components based on boiling point profile (relative volatility between fractions).

a) Deaeration
Crude fatty acid is first heated and deaerated under vacuum to remove undissolved gasses before entering subsequent high temperature fractionation section. This is to avoid undesired oxidative reaction that will affect the product quality.

b) Fractionation (2-column system)
Fatty acid is fed to Column 1, where it is evaporated withfalling-film type evaporators (can be designed for heating medium of heat transfer oil or high-pressure steam).

Fraction 1 is condensed in a final condenser and the liquid is withdrawn from the column top. Bottom fraction of column 1 is fed into Column 2, where it is evaporated with falling-film evaporators at higher temperature.

Fraction 2 is condensed by a surface condenser (which is designed for heat recovery by steam generation), followed by a final condenser.

Fraction 3 (bottom fraction of Column 2), can be sent to a distillation section for removal from residue.
Process Features:

o Structured packing for efficient thermal separation and low- pressure drop

o Tailor-made design with multi-column configuration for producing specific high purity fatty acid fractions

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

o Optimized heat recovery system and produces low pressure steam for general heating purposes


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