Continuous Monoglyceride Production from Palm Fatty Acid Distillate and Glycerol Using Vacuum Reactive Distillation Column

Hanifrahmawan Sudibyo, Laras Prasakti, Arief Budiman, Mohammad Fahrurrozi, Rcohmadi Rochmadi


This paper focused on the simulation-based study using Aspen Plus Ver. 7.2 to evaluate possible flow diagram processes and process configurations related to the continuous production of monoglyceride from palm fatty acid distillate-glycerol esterification using strong acidic cation resin in a reactive distillation column. Basic operating conditions evaluated was the operating pressure. Evaluation between atmospheric and vacuum operating pressure showed that the latter could give better product quality by avoiding the product from cracking or destructed due to too high operating temperature when the operating pressure was atmospheric (1 bar). The preferred vacuum pressure was 0.05 bar which resulted in the maximum temperature at the bottom stream of distillation column was about 335oC, lower than a maximum allowable temperature which was 350oC. On the other hand, atmospheric condition resulted in maximum temperature at the stream was about 520oC. Afterward, two scenarios were evaluated which were using one reactive distillation column with high reboiler duty combined with only one distillation column (Scenario-1) or using one reactive distillation column with moderate reboiler duty combined with two distillation columns (Scenario-2) to have high purity monoglycerides. Scenario-2 showed a little bit more sophisticated flowsheetings but yielded in less overall energy consumption for relatively the same monoglycerides purity at the bottom stream of the distillation column.


Reactive distillation; palm fatty acid distillate; monoglyceride; vacuum distillation; ASPEN Simulation

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Published by INSIGHT - Indonesian Society for Knowledge and Human Development