Effective phase separation in agitated vessels


Effective phase separation in agitated vessels


STC-Engineering GmbH, Germany started in the year 2016 the international research project called – LIPES - together with four partners from university and industry from four countries within the EU. LIPES – Life Integrated Process for the Enzymatic Splitting of triglycerides - is dedicated to bring the first market replication of greener and healthier fatty acids. The objective is to create high purity bio-based intermediates and end products from vegetable oils and fats without high temperature treatment.

There is a phase separation into fatty acid, water and glycerine during the enzymatic splitting of the edible oil in the agitated vessel. Within this process step it is necessary to limit the effect of mixing in the vessel on certain areas. To support it, it is possible to use special separation plates. These plates build a chamber around the impeller to avoid the back mixing between the phases of the product. This gravity phase separation allows the direct withdraw of fatty acid from the surface. The specifically designed radial impellers support this effect and minimize the axial mixing in the vessel. This system has his biggest effect in multi-stage agitated vessels with a large height-diameter ratio. It is not the best choice for all products and processes but it is a good choice to increase the output or quality of the right process. An example for that is the LIPES process.

This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 720743. The duration of this project runs from 2016 to 2021.

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