Wim De Greyt
Several factors, including a growing world population, higher fat intake per
capita and increasing use for technical applications, have resulted in a steep
increase in the demand for oils and fats. The annual growth rate of the world
demand has virtually doubled since the late nineties and is currently estimated
at 6.3 million tonnes per year (Mielke, 2011). To meet this increasing demand,
the total production volume of 12 vegetable oils has more than tripled, from
40.8 million tonnes in 1980 to 146.2 million tonnes in 2010 (FAOSTAT, 2012).
Production of palm oil (from 5 to
40 million tonnes) and soybean oil (from
38 million tonnes) have particularly increased.
or technical applications, increased production volumes have resulted in a
serious expansion of the edible oil refining industry. The required refining
capacity is currently estimated at 400 000 tonnes per day.
In edible oil refining, the continuous effort to reduce overall production
costs (including capital investment and operating costs) is mainly achieved
by increasing plant capacities (up to 4000 tonnes per day today, to maximise
economies of scale), installation of mono feedstock plants (for palm or
soybean oil) and increasing the degree of automation (to reduce required
manpower). As a result, edible oil refining has turned from a locally orientated
, Second Edition. Edited by Wolf Hamm, Richard J. Hamilton and Gijs Calliauw.
2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2013 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
operation with many small-scale plants into a large-scale industry dominated
by a number of global companies.
Improving overall cost-efficiency has also been an important driver for
new developments. Over the years, more energy-efficient processes and
technologies, resulting in a higher refined oil yield, have gradually been
introduced. The growing importance of the (nutritional) oil quality and the
sustainability aspect of the refining process itself (minimal use of processing
aids and chemicals) are new challenges for oil processors. To reach these
new objectives, ‘next-generation’ oil refining process technologies will have
to developed and implemented.
In this chapter, an overview is given of some process improvements and new
developments that have recently been introduced in the edible oil refining
industry. Some potential new innovations which are currently not yet applied
are also briefly discussed.