Palm Oil Engineering Bulletin No.137 (May - Aug 2021) p24-29
The Role of Liquid Entrainment and its Effect on Separation Efficiency in Palm Oil Fractionation
Elina Hishamuddin* and Saw Mei Huey*
Palm oil is one of the most unique oils and fats. The oil consists of a wide array of triacylglycerols (TAG) which predominantly contribute to its distinct physical and chemical properties. In its natural state, palm oil is semisolid at room temperature which allows the oil to undergo fractionation to enhance its characteristics while increasing its functionality as an ingredient in a multitude of edible and non-edible applications (Deffense, 1985; Deffense, 1998). Over the last half century, the fractionation process has become the dominant modification process for the Malaysian palm oil industry, together with the steady growth in palm oil production (Kellens et al., 2007). Palm oil fractionation produces a liquid fraction (palm olein) and a solid fraction (palm stearin), which are two major palm-based fractions produced and traded from Malaysia (Parveez et al., 2020). In 2020, Malaysia produced over 14.2 million tonnes of refined, bleached and deodourised (RBD) palm oil while the production of RBD palm olein and RBD palm stearin were in excess of 10.1 million tonnes and 2.9 million tonnes, respectively, in the same year (MPOB, 2020). Palm oil can also undergo fractionation in multiple stages to further produce various fractions with improved quality and at a higher degree of selectivity, as shown in Figure 1 (Kellens et al., 2007; Deffense, 2009).

Author information: