Separation of fatty acid methyl esters from tall oil by selective adsorption

Ustun G.

JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN OIL CHEMISTS SOCIETY, vol.73, no.2, pp.203-210, 1996 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 73 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 1996
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/bf02523896
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.203-210
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: No


Fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) and resin acids (RA) were separated from tall oil by selective adsorption. Commercial nonmodified molecular sieve 13X was used as adsorbent. The adsorption isotherms of fatty acids (FA), FAME, and RA on molecular sieve 13X at 25 degrees C were determined using various solvents. The solvents were methanol, ethanol, isopropanol, acetone, benzene, hexane, isooctane, petroleum ether (40-60 degrees C), and petroleum naphtha (80-180 degrees C). With each solvent, FA and RA were adsorbed to a greater extent than FAME. Adsorption isotherms for RA and FAME in binary adsorption systems were also determined using petroleum ether, petroleum naphtha, benzene, and isopropanol. For each component in the binary adsorption, the equilibrium amounts are lower than the values for pure component adsorption. The adsorption of FAME decreased in the presence of RA markedly in petroleum ether and petroleum naphtha. This fact may be the indication of the phenomenon of selective adsorption. Separation was accomplished by adding a solution of esterified tall oil in solvents used in the binary adsorption systems, through a column packed with molecular sieve 13X. With petroleum naphtha, FAME and RA were recovered in yields of 93 and 94%, respectively, from esterified tall oil. Petroleum naphtha gave the best results. The effects of particle size of adsorbent and flow rate of solvent on the efficiency of the separation were also investigated in fixed-bed column studies. The particle size-of adsorbent did not apparently alter the results, Changes in the particle size should not significantly change the number of available adsorption sites in a microporous molecular sieve.