Chemistry | Chemical Analysis | Reaction Monitoring in the Production of Oleochemical Products
Natural raw materials are becoming increasingly important in many areas of our daily life
Renewable raw materials are playing a key role as an alternative to fossil raw materials, for which resources are becoming scarcer worldwide. The positive assessment of these materials is based on their balanced CO2 footprint and a growing sustainability awareness among consumers. Oils and fats account for almost half of the most important natural raw materials. Primary products based on animal and vegetable fats, so-called oleochemicals, form the basis for a wide range of applications in food production, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, the manufacture of industrial basic chemicals and in the energy sector in the production of biodiesel.
Compliant and cost-efficient processing of natural raw materials
Online measurements directly in the reaction vessel under harsh conditions
Process Analytical Technology (PAT)
A particular challenge in the processing of these natural raw materials is crop fluctuations, which can cause the composition, for example of the fatty acids, to vary. In order to achieve consistently good quality of the end product despite fluctuating starting products, the process sequence must be closely monitored at several process steps and critical parameters precisely measured.
The processing of products in the food and pharmaceutical sectors is subject to strict EU guidelines to exclude health risks for the consumer. Contamination of the end product with chemical residues, allergens or other substances must be excluded. At the same time, production must remain cost-efficient. Very precise and close-meshed measurements in real time as well as accurate reaction endpoint determinations help to optimize the process.
The measurement must be made directly in the reaction vessel, as atmospheric oxygen can attack the fatty acids and cause the product to spoil.The measuring technology used here is exposed to very high temperatures of > 180°C, mechanical vibrations caused by an agitator and pressure fluctuations. They must also comply with various regulations for safe operation.
To meet the high demands placed on their products in terms of stability and purity, and to ensure that maximum permissible limits for contaminants are not exceeded, the company IOI Oleo GmbH with its site in WItten, continously monitors the composition of the various fatty acids and alcolhols during the manufacturing process. At various production stages throughout the manufacturing process, the critical variables (acid number and OH number) have to be measured in mostly liquid media. During the individual production stages, considerable temperature and pressure fluctuations as well as mechanical vibrations occur.
A more detailed description on how this application was realized using online measurement technology can be found in our detailed application report, which you can download from the info column at the top of the page.