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Publication Title | ASSEMBLING OF A SUPERCRITICAL FLUID EXTRACTION EQUIPMENT TO OPERATE IN CONTINUOUS MODE

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III Iberoamerican Conference on Supercritical Fluids Cartagena de Indias (Colombia), 2013

ASSEMBLING OF A SUPERCRITICAL FLUID EXTRACTION EQUIPMENT TO OPERATE IN CONTINUOUS MODE

Moyses N. Moraes, Giovani L. Zabot and M. Angela A. Meireles*

Department of Food Engineering – School of Food Engineering University of Campinas - UNICAMP

Rua Monteiro Lobato, 80; 13083-862, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil

Email: meireles@fea.unicamp.br

Abstract. Supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) of bioactive compounds from vegetal matrices in continuous mode presents the advantage of reducing the process setup time and increasing the productivity. The exchange of batch process to continuous process might be performed adding two or more extractors operating in parallel mode to the process line. This allows the system to operate continuously in spite of the exhausting of the solute in the fixed bed. The solvent percolation occurs in n-1 extractors, at each extraction cycle, while the remaining extractor is on process setup. The assembly of a SFE equipment SFE- 2×1L containing two 1 L extractors, was therefore done aiming to operate in continuous mode; while one extractor is at operation procedure, the other can be charged with raw material to subsequent operations, and vice versa. Extractor 1 has height to internal diameter ratio (Hb/Db) of 7.1, while Extractor 2 has Hb/Db=2.7, both supporting 60 MPa. The use of different Hb/Db ratios is to analyze the influence of the extractors geometry on the overall extraction curves (mass of extract versus time of extraction). The interference of the tubing length on each extractor output was minimized by maintaining the same distance from the output of the extract+solvent mixture to the separator. The equipment was assembled considering the possibility of coupling a co-solvent in the system. Furthermore, the SFE-2×1L equipment is multipurpose, because it will be also applied for the fractionated separation of extract. The validation of this equipment will include experimental assays using clove, fennel and rosemary.

Keywords: Supercritical fluid extraction (SFE), continuous mode, bed geometry. 1. Introduction

Researches in the area of supercritical technology are increasingly moving forward because this technology possesses a green label. Due to the globalization, the access to specific equipment which supports high pressures was facilitated. The referred access provides different alternatives, not only of types as well as of prices, to the ones interested in assembling an extraction plant using supercritical fluids.

In this field, the extraction of bioactive compounds with supercritical CO2 in continuous mode is of great importance, since this configuration allows the continuous obtaining of product by intercalating the charge/discharge time of the n extractors in a plant. Thus, the continuous extraction in a system containing n extractors is characterized as follows: while one extractor is in charge/discharge step, the n-1 extractors are in extraction process step.

The assembling of equipment that can operate in continuous mode is necessary. This operation mode improves the technical extraction feasibility and enhances the process productivity. So, the objective of this study is to describe the assembling of a laboratory equipment which involves supercritical technology. The design, the difficulties and the solutions during the development of the home-made system are pointed out.

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