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Publication Title | Sub-sectoral Environmental and Social Guidelines: Vegetable Oil Processing

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Sub-sectoral Environmental and Social Guidelines: Vegetable Oil Processing
PROCESS DESCRIPTION
Vegetable oils are extracted from seeds, beans, fruits and nuts. The basic steps in the process are shown in the figure below.
are used in food applications, animal feed, cosmetics, detergents, paints, plastics, candles, pharmaceuticals, biofuels and many other technical applications.
Solid Waste
Vegetable oil processing can generate significant quantities of organic solid waste such as empty fruit stalks and waste palm kernels. The waste products can normally be used for animal feed.
Other solid wastes may include:
• Spent bleaching earth: activated clay, silica and carbon are used in the bleaching process and will contain pigments and residues of other undesirable substances such as gums and metals;
• Soapstockandspentacidsfromchemical refining;
• Deodoriser distillate;
• Mucilage1 from degumming;
• Spentcatalystsandfilteringaidfrom hardening;
• Sludgearisingfromthewastewatertreatment plant which may be contaminated with hazardous chemicals or have a high pH and therefore require careful disposal.
SUMMARY OF KEY ENVIRONMENTAL, HEALTH AND SAFETY RISK/LIABILITY ISSUES
Cleaning/Drying/ Sorting/Dehulling
Drying Cooling
Crushing/Heating
Filtration
Solvent Extraction
Degumming
Desolventing Toasting
Solvent Removal by Distillation
Pressed Crude Oil
Extracted Crude Oil
Refining (Physical or Chemical)
Semi-refined oil quality
Hydrogenation
Interestification
Deodorisation
Seeds/ Beans
Wet Cake
Meals
Miscella*
Fully Refined Product
*Miscella is a mixture of oil and solvent
The extracted crude oil will be refined either by chemical/alkali refining or by physical means. The primary purpose is to separate the free fatty acids and remove other unwanted substances.
Vegetable oils and fats are an important ingredient in a vast number of products providing flavour, texture and structure. They
Vegetable Oil Processing Sub-sectoral Environmental & Social Guidelines August 2009
1 Gelatinous substances secreted by plants
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