Palm Oil Extraction Process, Methods, Steps

Palm Oil Extraction Process, Methods, Steps

Introduction of Palm oil Extraction Process:

The following content is all about Palm Oil Extraction Process.

Palm oil is physically reddish in color because of high beta-carotene content. Oil palms are palm trees which grow hundreds of little orange or red fruits that are squashed, squeezed and pulped to produce palm oil.  It is estimated that 33 percent of all the products in your local supermarket contain palm oil that’s a lot of products. It is used in bread, cereals, and chocolates, pizzas, cleaning products, chewing gum and shampoo.

This is extracted from one of two parts of the palm plant. Palm oil from the fruit of the palm plant is dissimilar from palm oil from the kernels, or the nut of the fruit. There are different health benefits. According to Dr. Ella Johannesen, palm fruit oil has very high levels of vitamins and antioxidants that are essential to human health; these are not there in palm oil extracted from the kernels. She also states that oil from the fruit stays fresh for a longer shelf time without preservatives.

Palm oil types:

Red palm oil: Red palm oil has been cold-pressed from the fruit of the oil palm and bottled for use as cooking oil, in addition to other uses such as being blended into mayonnaise and vegetable oil.

White palm oil: White palm oil is the product of processing and refining. When refined, the palm oil loses its red color. It is extensively used in food manufacture and can be found in a variety of foods including peanut butter and chips. It is frequently labeled as palm shortening and is used as a replacement ingredient for hydrogenated fats in a variety of baked and fried products.

Read: Olive Oil Extracation Methods.

Equipments used in Palm oil extraction:

Sterilizer, Thresher, palm oil expeller, clarification equipment, palm nut polishing machine.

Palm oil extraction process:

Palm oil is extracted during a carefully monitored series of phases that seeks to make sure that the end product is highly appealing. Palm oil extracting plant generally begins with the harvesting of the fruit. This is the process of palm oil physical extracting (screw pressing) and field factors that determine quality of expelled palm oil.

Harvesting of Fresh Fruit Bunch (FFB):

For extracting oil from palm fruits, you will have to start by harvesting fresh fruit bunches and keeping them ready for the next stage of palm oil production. Make sure that they are ripe and in good quality, condition if you are to get a perfect result.

Threshing of fruits (removal of fruit from the bunches):

After harvesting, the next one is threshing stage. You start by removing fruit from the bunch and then begin threshing. This stage can easily be managed by the use of hand or sometimes the use of mechanical thresher that gives a better completed product. The thresher is well known for its capability to easily vibrate and rotate the fruits as it separates them from the bunch.

Most small-scale processors do not have the ability to generate steam for sterilization. Then, the threshed fruits are cooked in water. Total bunches which include spikelets absorb a lot of water in the cooking process. High-pressure steam is more effective in heating bunches without losing a lot of water. Therefore, most small-scale operations thresh bunches before the fruits are cooked, while high-pressure sterilization threshes bunches after heating to loosen the fruits.

Small-scale operators utilize the bunch waste (empty bunches) as cooking fuel. In bigger mills the bunch waste is incinerated and the ash, a rich source of potassium, returns to the plantation as fertilizer.

Sterilization of fruits:

Sterilization or cooking means the utilize of high-temperature wet-heat treatment of loose fruit. Cooking generally uses hot water; sterilization uses pressurized steam. The cooking action serves some purposes.

  • The Heat treatment destroys oil-splitting enzymes and arrests hydrolysis and
  • For large-scale installations, where the bunches are cooked whole, the wet heat weakens the fruit stem and makes it very easy to remove the fruit from bunches on shaking or tumbling in the threshing machine.
  • Heat helps to solidify proteins in which the oil-bearing cells are microscopically detached. The protein solidification (coagulation) allows the oil-bearing cells to come mutually and flow more easily on application of pressure.
  • Fruit cooking weakens the pulp structure, softening it and making it easier to detach the fibrous material and its contents during the digestion procedure. The high heat is enough to moderately disrupt the oil-containing cells in the mesocarp and permits oil to be released more readily.
  • The moisture introduced by the steam acts chemically to crack down gums and resins. The gums and resins basis the oil to foam during frying. A few of the gums and resins are soluble in water. Others can be made soluble in water, when broken down by wet steam (hydrolysis), so that they can be detached during oil clarification. Starches present in the palm fruit are hydrolyzed and removed in this way.
  • When high-pressure steam is used for sterilization, the heat causes the moisture in the nuts to increase. When the pressure is abridged the contraction of the nut leads to the detachment of the kernel from the shell wall, which loosens the kernels within their shells. The detachment of the kernel from the shell wall really facilitates later nut cracking operations. From the foregoing, it is obvious that sterilization (cooking) is one of the mainly important operations, oil processing, ensuring the success of several other phases.
  • However, during sterilization it is key to ensure the evacuation of air from the sterilizer. The air did not act as a barrier to heat transfer, but oil oxidation increases considerably at high temperatures; hence oxidation risks are very high during sterilization. Over-sterilization can also lead to a poor bleach capability of the resulting oil. Sterilization is also the chief factor dependable for the discoloration of palm kernels, leading to the poor bleach capability of the extracted oil and reduction of the protein value of the press cake.

Read: Aquaponics Design.

Digestion process:

Digestion is the method of releasing the palm oil in the fruit through the rupture or breaking down of the oil-bearing cells. The digester normally used consists of a steam-heated cylindrical vessel fitted with a central rotating shaft carrying a number of beater (stirring) arms. Through the act of the rotating beater arms the fruit is pounded. Pounding, or digesting the fruit at high temperature, helps to reduce the viscosity of the oil, destroys the fruits’ outer casing (exocarp), and completes the disruption of the oil cells already begun in the sterilization phase. Unfortunately, for reasons related to cost and maintenance, most small-scale digesters do not have the heat insulation and steam injections that help to sustain their contents at elevated temperatures during this operation.

Contamination of iron is maximum during digestion when the highest rate of metal wear is encountered in the milling process. Iron contamination increases the hazard of oil oxidation and the onset of oil rancidity.

Palm Oil Extracting:

Processing Crude Palm Oil.
Processing Crude Palm Oil.

It is through this stage that you now start focusing on pressing or extracting the oil. Here, the pulp is pushed in palm oil expeller; it burst all cells that hold oil and releases the palm oil. This is a main stage that seeks to focus on several types of presses that usually focus on pressing of fruit pulp. You can use the screw presses or at that time dare to try the hydraulic presses. In the modern times, the screw oil push has gained a lot of popularity because of its ability to yield more oil when pressing mesocarp.

Clarification of Palm Oil:

After the oil extracting process, the oils are usually taken to a clarification section to easily help in the removal of impurities. At this stage that the final palm oil is received, observed and finally stored in a bulk tank. The oil is kept to make sure that there are no impurities. It is a main stage that helps in the clarification of the real product and other wastes to make sure that you get the most important product.

The palm keener recovery stage:

Nuts and fiber are generally separated in this physical stage after all solids leave the important screw presses. Fiber products here can be used as good quality biomass fuel in boilers and the nuts used in the extraction process of palm kernel.

Cost of Palm oil processing machine:

Various prices are existing for palm oil processing machines, depending on the capacity, general make and manufacturer. A good benchmark is a palm oil processing machine with an ability of 50 sheets priced at around $2,000.00 – $3,000.00. More complex machines that include oil press machine with a main motor of 18.5 kW and have a packing dimension of 255 x 170 x 205 cm normally range from $5,500 – $7,000.00.

Read: Biofloc Technology Aquaculture.

The use of Palm oil:

This oil is the oil extracted from the fruits of a palm tree. It is one of the necessary components of our traditional dishes here in Nigeria. In the east, we used in the Egusi soup, Oha, ofe nsala. Though the calabars have the Edika Ikong soup, Afang and the likes. In the west, we have used in the gbegiri soup, Efo riro, Asaro amongst others. The northern also boasts of tuwo masara or tuwo dawa with mia kuka soup. All these traditional dishes will not have their single tastes without the locally extracted palm oil. That is why there is always a constant demand for this type of the palm oil business and, the business is very lucrative.

Nutrient Composition in Palm oil:

Here is the nutritional content of one tablespoon (14 grams) of the palm oil (4):

Calories: 114

Fat: 14 grams

Saturated fat: 7 grams

Monounsaturated fat: 5 grams

Polyunsaturated fat: 1.5 grams

Vitamin E: 11% of the RDI

Benefits of using Palm oil:

Oils and fats serve lots of functions in the food we eat. In food products, palm oil is often jointly with other oils and fats, which together determine the fatty acid composition and functionality of the end product. Palm oil offers versatile and functional uses. Its major advantages are:

Stability at high cooking temperatures: This oil maintains its characteristics even under high temperatures. It performs improved at high temperatures than some other oils and fats.

Stability over time: palm oil is suitable for use in products with a long shelf life. Products containing palm oil sustains their flavors and structure such as crispiness or crunch for a longer period of time.

Neutral taste and smell: palm oil used in many different foods without affecting their taste or smell.

Smooth and creamy texture: palm oil is suitable solution for increasing solidity and improving the consistency of the product. Food products with this Palm oil have an excellent mouth feel fulfilling specific characteristics needed in different products.

Read: Growing Oil Palms.

Last Updated: January 8, 2019
Author: Jagdish

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