Palm oil extraction process
Palm oil is extracted from fresh fruit bunches by mechanical process. The modern palm oil extraction of today is based predominantly on automatic machinery. The quality of crude palm oil is dependent on the care taken after harvesting, particularly on the handling of the palm seeds. Palm oil extraction processes are as follows:
This comprises of sterilization, stripping, digestion and pressing, clarification, purification, drying and storage. First, collecting the ripe fresh cluster from the orchard, and then transmit them to the factory. Second is sterilization process. Sterilizing process is crucial to the final oil quality. Sterilization inactivates the lipases in the fruits, and prevents build-up of free fatty acids (FFA). In addition, steam sterilization of the FFBs facilitates fruits being stripped from the bunches. It also softens the fruit mesocarp for digestion and release of oil, and conditioning of nuts to minimize kernel breakage. Third is threshing section. The purpose of threshing is to separate the palm fruit from the FFB.
After stripping, the fruits are moved into a digester where, the fruits are reheated to loosen the pericarp. The steam heated vessels have rotating shafts to which are attached stirring arms. The fruits are rotated about, causing the loosening of the pericarps from the nuts. Then, it is sent to continuous screw press. After pressing, the palm oil is divided into two parts: the mixture of oil and the press cake. And then is crude oil clarifying section. Oil from the top is skimmed off and purified in the centrifuge prior to drying in vacuum dryer. The final crude palm oil is then cooled and stored. The lower layer from the clarification tank is sent to the centrifugal separator where the remaining oil is recovered. The oil is dried in vacuum dryers, cooled and sent to storage tanks. All of these are palm oil extraction processes.