Fatty acid pump oleochemistry
Fatty acid pumps for oleochemistry
Oleochemistry works sustainably and extracts products such as fatty acids, fatty alcohols, methyl esters or glycerine from animal or vegetable fats. These in turn are important starting materials for many everyday products. The scarcity of fossil fuels and the growing world population make oleochemistry an important technology.
Efficient production processes require reliable and powerful fatty acid pumps. Modern plunger pumps meet these requirements and represent ideal solutions.
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Processes in oleochemistry
The starting materials of oleochemistry are renewable raw materials such as vegetable oils such as rapeseed oil, soybean oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil or sunflower oil. Chemically, these are compounds of fatty acids and glycerine. The first process step in oleochemistry is fat separation. It separates the fatty acid phase from the glycerol phase, usually by high-pressure lipolysis. It is considered a very gentle and environmentally friendly process without additional chemicals or catalysts.
The next process steps process the raw glycerine obtained into a pure glycerine distillate. Processes such as saponification, fractionation, transesterification, distillation or hydrogenation are used for the further processing of raw fatty acids. Companies active in the field of oleochemistry use fatty acid pumps in the various process steps for pumping media.
Fatty acid pump applications
The end products supplied by oleochemicals with their fatty acid pumps are mainly glycerine, methyl esters, fatty acids and fatty alcohols. These end products in turn are the starting materials for many different everyday products.
They can be used for foodstuffs such as margarine or for cleaning agents such as soaps. They are also the starting materials for cosmetics or skin care products. For example, surfactants (sodium lauryl sulfate) can be obtained from the fatty acid lauric acid as important ingredients of many skin care products. Other areas of application are the production of solvents, lubrication oils and biopolymers or copolymers for the plastics and coatings sector.
Biodiesel production uses the transesterification of methanol to produce the fuel.
The fatty acid pumps used in oleochemistry must meet high requirements, because media to be pumped, such as fatty acids, are corrosive. Strict environmental and safety specifications apply to the various process steps. Pumps used in the further processing of fatty acids must often be explosion-proof.
Another challenge for the fatty acid pumps is the hard 24-hour continuous operation of the process-technical systems. Downtimes or maintenance work on the pumps immediately lead to production downtimes and economic losses. The pumps often operate over several decades and only limited service windows are available for maintenance work at certain times.
Many oleochemical media to be pumped are aggressive and have high temperatures. This must be taken into account when designing the process pumps. The materials and assembly groups coming into contact with the media must be designed accordingly.
Plunger pumps are ideal solutions for fatty acid pumps in oleochemistry. They can be dimensioned conservatively in terms of speed and load. The specific loads of the moving parts are low for both the pump drive and the liquid end. This results in minimum wear, large maintenance intervals and a long service life.
The pumping capacity of the plunger pumps can be easily regulated by setting the speed. Frequency-controlled drives ensure optimum speeds and maximum pump efficiency. The plunger pumps are able to supply the required operating pressures and flow rates of the various process stages in the further processing of fatty acids. In some cases, pressures up to 300 bar and flow rates of 600 l/min are required. The plunger pumps can also handle the high temperatures of the media of up to 280 °C with ease.