Monday, April 30, 2007

Evaluating vitamins recovering through the development of a supercritical extraction process: A virtual plant

Elenise B. Moraes, Mario E. T. Alvarez, and Maria R. Wolf-Maciel. Department of Chemical Process, State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) - School of Chemical Engineering, CP 6066, ZIP CODE 13081-970, Campinas-SP, Brazil

In this work, a simulation procedure for supercritical extraction process was developed through the use of the commercial simulator HYSYS™, adapting the existing units in the simulator to the operating conditions typical of this process. As case study, the system DDSO (Deodorizer Distillate of Soya Oil) with CO2 as the supercritical solvent was used. This example characterizes the problem for recovering Vitamin E from natural sources, as the DDSO. This is an important development since the supercritical extraction is a clean technology and, also, Vitamin E can be obtained from a natural source, which is desired by the market. CO2 was chosen because it is the most commonly employed solvent, because it is relatively inert, cheap, non-toxic, recyclable, non-flammable and presents the following mild critical properties: critical pressure=7.37 MPa and critical temperature=30.95°C. It was possible, through this process, to recover tocopherols and phytosterols.