I am Nicolas Tetard, sales manager at Tournaire Equipment SAS. Tournaire Equipment is the reference in the design of solutions for the treatment of natural materials with high added value.
The rectification process, also called fractionation, is a process used to refine products such as essential oils. It is also the same process for crude oil refining
The principle of rectification or fractionation consists in bringing a mixture to boiling point, generally under vacuum. The constituents with the lowest boiling point vaporize and their vapors are led into a column. The column is packed with special elements (usually stainless steel wire) that promote heat exchange between liquid and vapor.
In the column, the vapors rise and transfer their energy to the constituents with the lowest boiling point. As a result, these vapors condense and flow onto the packing wires, while new vapors are created from the light liquid phases.
The higher boiling constituents will be condensed in the packing by the liquid from the top of the column and flow to the bottom of the column. Lighter components will tend to evaporate and rise to the top condenser and may be drawn off.
A test carried out within the WiNatLab platform of Tournaire gives access to yields, confirms the interest and feasibility of a project and optimizes its process parameters. It also enables the development or confirmation of product innovations, the optimization of existing processes and gives access to the latest technologies available within the WiNatLab platform.
It should be noted that, when designing a rectification column, it is generally necessary to carry out some practical tests to validate the feasibility of the process, and to analyze the different fractions obtained at the end. Tournaire Equipement provides a pilot column (capacity: 15 L – 60 theoretical plates – under vacuum) for this purpose.
The result of the trial may lead to the study of an optimized process on an industrial scale (scale-up) followed by a complete step concerning investment (CAPEX) and operating costs (OPEX).
Example of tests:
Concentration of cinnamaldehyde from cinnamon essential oil.
This rectification-fractionation test platform is aimed at companies of all sizes, whether they are established industrialists or new entrants. The WiNatLab platform brings solutions to the sectors of perfumery and flavors, food ingredients, chemistry, cosmetics, nutraceuticals and health pharmaceuticals. It is also aimed at the synthetic chemistry and biotechnology sectors.
Tests are carried out on known materials in order to improve process parameters but also on new materials in order to obtain compounds for innovative applications.
With the WiNatLab platform, you can benefit from all the developments that have been made by Tournaire over the years, and, in particular, on the rectification process. For example, in order to avoid the overheating of the product in the boiler of the column by a permanent contact with the heating walls, we recommend to use a falling film or wiped film heating, depending on the viscosity of the mixture. This has the advantage of reducing the impact of temperature on heat-sensitive products. Indeed, rectification process can take many hours, and the product, if subjected to a high temperature over a long period of time, is likely to degrade.
The WiNatLab platform will be inaugurated during September 2020.
I encourage you to register now on the website to participate in the inauguration, and also to book your trial.