The Swiss edible oil and fat specialist, Nutriswiss AG, is expanding its refining operations with new short path distillation (SPD) equipment. The process removes contaminants and isolates fatty acids at particularly low process temperatures. At the same time, it prevents the contamination of food products and preserves micronutrients. With this new technology, Nutriswiss is able to achieve previously unattained levels of quality and overcome a key hurdle for manufacturers, the company outlines.
The process gently removes pollutants such as pesticides from palm, rapeseed and other crude oils without forming contaminants in situ owing to the low thermal load applied. In conventional refining, high temperatures and pressure — and deodorization — are often required to effectively remove contaminants. However, heat promotes the formation of trans fatty acids, glycidyl fatty acid esters and chlorinated fatty acid esters such as 3-MCPD. Because of the extremely low pressures used in SPD, high temperatures can be avoided. The distance from the evaporating flask to the condenser is short, so there’s very little pressure loss compensate.
Valuable components such as micronutrients are preserved and yields of essential omega-3 fatty acids, for example, can be maximized. At the same time, hydrocarbons (MOSH/MOAH), pesticides or plasticizers such as DEHP derived from mineral oil are significantly reduced or even removed.
The SPD plant occupies a new seven-story facility and has been expanded in cooperation with plant manufacturer VTA to include supplementary process technology. SPD is a well-established process and has been used in the fish oil industry for years. In Southeast Asia, red palm oil is refined by the method to obtain micronutrients and carotenoids. Nutriswiss is initially focusing on the contract refining of palm oil. An average of two tons per hour can be processed in continuous mode. Thanks to the flexible plant technology designed to comply with current GMPs, product changeovers are fast and simple. As such, the fat specialist is also able to focus on numerous other oils, including sensitive omega-3 oils from algae and fish. For each oil, a comprehensive profile with more than 30 different fat indicators is drawn up before, during and after the production process and an individual process plan is defined.
Michel Burla, managing director of Nutriswiss, commented: “The construction of the new plant is very important to us and is our response to the growing demands of our customers. Applications of exceptional quality, the isolation of certain fatty acids, the enrichment with valuable essential fatty acids and the targeted use of free fatty acids are just some of the possibilities we’ll be offering in the future. Even those facing stricter legal limits will be able to meet the higher requirements with our help. Together with our plant engineering company, we have developed innovative solutions that give us a major quality advantage when refining edible oils. This benefits our customers and, ultimately, the consumer.“