Bleaching Of Palm Oil Using Activated Charcoal

Project and Seminar Material for Chemical Engineering

Bleaching Of Palm Oil Using Activated Charcoal


This project work is on the bleaching of palm oil using activated charcoal.

The charcoal used for this work was made from pieces of animal bone by carbonization method. It was then activated into two different samples. Firstly, the basic sample was activated using anaphoric acid (H2 s04) while the other was activated by just heating as a control for the experiment; both at a constant temperature of 5000c and approximate time of 2hours.

They were both size reduced into fines and sieved into particle 3ye of 150um portion of the crude palm oil was degummed and neutralized for bleaching. Each interval of bleaching with both the acid activated and the ordinary activated charcoal was 8mins and temperature of 1500c over a hot plate, and subsequent filtration of the solution.
A spectrophotometer was used to measure the absorbance of the oils (crude and bleached) at selected wave length of 480Um. This was converted as the degree of colour reduction expressed in percentages.

Results obtained showed that optimum quantity of the charcoal for bleaching is 5% by weight, of the oil, which gives a percentage colour reduction as 97. 14% for the acid activated and 93.57% for the calcinated sample.
Also, the characterization of both the original oil and the bleaching oil showed that the later has appreciable properties. Hence colour reduction was observable by naked eyes.

Table Of Contents

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Certification page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of content

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Preamble
  • 1.2 Objective
  • 1.3 Scope of study

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1.0 Chemical composition of palm oil
  • 2.1.1 Carotenes
  • 2.1.2 Phosphatides
  • 2.1.3 Gums
  • 2.1.4 Compositions and standards of palm oil
  • 2.2.0 Spoilage factors of palm oil
  • 2.2.1 Preventive measures
  • 2.2.2 Inhibitors
  • 2.3.0 Refining of creebe palm oil
  • 2.3.1 Degumming
  • 2.3.2 Neutralization
  • 2.3.3 Bleaching
  • 2.3.4 Deodorization
  • 2.3.5 Chemical bleaching method
  • 2.3.6 Accretion bleaching
  • 2.3.7 Bleaching by adsorption
  • 2.4.0 Adsorption
  • 2.4.1 Uses of adsorption
  • 2.5.2 Physical adsorption
  • 2.5.2 Chemisorptions
  • 2.6.0 Adsorbents
  • 2.6.1 Bauxite
  • 2.6.2 Decolourising carbons
  • 2.6.3 Gas-adsorbent carbon
  • 2.6.4 Molecular screening activated carbon
  • 2.6.5 Synthetic polymeric adsorbents
  • 2.6.6 Silica Gel
  • 2.6.7 Alumna
  • 2.6.8 Bone char.
  • 2.7.0 Charcoal
  • 2.7.1 Properties of charcoal
  • 2.7.2 Activated charcoal
  • 2.7.3 Methods of charcoal activation
  • 2.7.4 Properties of activated charcoal
  • 2.7.5 Chemical properties of activated charcoal
  • 2.7.6 Physical properties of activated charcoal
  • 2.7.7 Uses of activated charcoal

Chapter Three

3.0 Experimental Method

  • 3.1.0 Materials
  • 3.1.1 Material treatment
  • 3.2.0 Charcoal activation using acid
  • 3.2.1 Charcoal activation by heat treatment
  • 3.3.0 Degumming of Palm oil
  • 3.3.1 Neutralization
  • 3.4.0 Bleaching of palm oil
  • 3.4.1 Experimental set-up
  • 3.5.0 Characterization of palm oil
  • 3.5.1 Specific gravity
  • 3.5.2 Iodine value
  • 3.5.3 Free fatty acid
  • 3.5.4 Saponification value
  • 3.5.5 Esterification value
  • 3.5.6 Process flow chart

Chapter Four

4.0 Experimental Result

  • 4.1.0 Effect of bleaching sample
  • 4.2.0 Effect of temperature on bleaching
  • 4.3.0 Colour observation at absorbance
  • 4.4.0 Concise table for characterization

Chapter Five

5.0 Discussion

Chapter Six

6.0 Conclusion

Chapter Seven

7.0 Recommendation

  • References
  • Table of nomenclature
  • Appendices

Chapter One


1.1 Preamble

Palm oil is one of the various types of vegetable oils, belonging to the group called liquids, because of its fatty acids content.

The majority of the fats contains some colouring matter either as a natural constituent or discoloration produced during the processing. Natural pigments present in vegetable oils are mainly the carotenoid, giving yellow and red colours, and the chlorophylls which give green colours. Colour deterioration can also take place during the extraction process, especially in the local method of extraction used in the most parts of the Eastern region in Nigeria.

Removal or reduction of colours and other components, otherwise called ‘Bleaching” is necessary not only because a pale-coloured fat has an appeal of ‘purity’ but also because the colours of the fat can influence the appearance of prepared food and even more importantly, the pigment present may affect the flavour and stability of the fats and food made from it.
The decolouration (bleaching) could be achieved by chemical treatment, heat treatment and adsorption methods. The most effective and widely used being the later. Thus, in this research project, bleaching by adsorption is carred out using an “Activated charcoal” (an adsorbent), a kind of active carbon, to substitute the use of local clays and the imported ‘Fuller’s Earth – in Palm Oil bleaching, which are rather expensive.

The charcoal can be produced from different sources as from, coal, wood, bone, coconut shell, etc. It would be verified the most suitable form and type of charcoal for effective bleaching and the most favourable condition at which the “activated charcoal could be used, which in them affects the bleach ability’ of the Palm oil itself.

1.2 Objective

The objective / aim of this research project is to verify the effectiveness of ‘Activated charcoal’ in the bleaching of palm oil. It will also expose the improvement in the use of local raw material (charcoal) in a chemical process (bleaching), in lien of the imported fuller’s Earth or other adsorbents which more expensive.

1.3 Score of the Study

Basically, this, study dwells on the colours reduction of Palm oil, using an Activated charcoal as an adsorbent (bleaching agent). The major raw materials, Palm oil and charcoal were locally sourced, and information as regards the process were obtained form the literary and other resourceful materials (texts) that treats ‘Adsorption’ as a chemical process.

Chapter Seven

7.0 Recommendation

Bleaching of crude palm oil for various usages is recommended since the bleaching reduces the undeniable colour of the oil and criminates these organic compounds which can affect the flavour, taste and quality of produced foods; studies have shown that there is no fixed standards for bleaching oils, rather processors bleaches to their desire, depending on the use of the oil and other factors that right limit the process.

The use of charcoal for bleaching oil and other production is highly recommended, because not only that the materials are locally sourced at a cheap rate, “charcoal” on its own has been examined to be the most safe’ material on earth. It has no effect in living things, hence its wider application, in other areas.

But then, the acid effect of activated charcoal contradicts the safe nature of the original charcoal. Therefore, it is recommended that the activated charcoal be desulphurised after the activation before using for bleaching, to curtail the obnoxious effects of the sulphuric acid to the finished product (bleached oil)

For optimization of the bleaching, it is recommended that the temperature of the activation be high enough at a prolonged time and the acid be concentrated, so that the volatilization of the materials be enhanced.

The surface area can be increased or made more efficient by reducing the carbonized and activated charcoal to fines and sieving with mesh sizes of 150Um or less (200Um, 240Um) etc, even though the sieving seems difficult and wastes time.

Since heat has an appreciable effect on bleaching by adsorption, it is advisable to heat the solution (oil and charcoal sample) on a hot plate at temperatures between 1500c and above, while the system has to be prouder with self-stirring mechanism (magnetic stirrers) for proper making of the solution while heating.

To separate the oil from the charcoal after the heating, filteration by centrifigation is better recommended so that the gradual fall of the of sample ensures pure product. A more efficient device for this should be provided since filteration using filter paper is very slow and lasts for several hours.

Furthermore, the time of heating has to be very optimum. Excessive heating at high temperature, hence denatuning the quality and colour of the final bleached oil. Hence, 8minutes was used in this work since it was observed that at this time, colour reduction still occurred.

And the measurement and analysis of the nature and colour of the crude palm oil and bleached one is recommended to be done using a sulphisticated equipment as the spectrophotometer which gives an approximate and accurate results.

Finally, the use of local adsorbent like charcoal made from bone, for bleaching recommended instead of the imported fullers earth where extra cost is incurred and hence reduces economic value of the products.

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