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Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering >> 2017, Volume 11, Issue 2 doi: 10.1007/s11705-017-1616-4

Environmental and economic assessment of vegetable oil production using membrane separation and vapor recompression

. Beijing Key Lab of Bioprocess, College of Life Science and Technology, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, China.. School of Engineering, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK

Accepted: 2017-02-08 Available online: 2017-05-12

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Solvent extraction of crude oil from oilseeds is widely applied for its high production capacity and low cost. In this process, solvent recovery and tail gas treatment are usually performed by adsorption, paraffin scrubbing, or even cryogenics (at low tail gas flow rates). Membrane separation, which has a lower energy consumption than these techniques, spans a broad range of admissible concentrations and flow rates, and is moreover easily combined with other techniques. Vapor recompression has potentials to reduce the heat loss in association with distillation and evaporation. In this study, we proved the possibility of combining membrane separation and vapor recompression to improve the conventional vegetable oil production, by both experiments and process simulation. Nearly 73% of energy can be saved in the process of vegetable oil extraction by the novel processing approach. By further environmental assessment, several impact categories show that the optimized process is environmentally sustainable.

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