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Hydrogenation of Plant Seed Oil


Improvement of Technology for Hydrogenation of Plant Seed Oil for Food Industry

Tech Area / Field

  • CHE-IND/Industrial Chemistry and Chemical Process Engineering/Chemistry

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Research Institute of New Chemical Technologies and Materials, Kazakstan, Almaty


  • National Science Resources Center, USA, Washington DC\nUniversity of Notre Dame / Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, USA, IN, Notre Dame

Project summary

Hydrogenation of vegetable oils is widely used in the different countries for production of margarine, soap, stearine, glycerol, lubricants, etc. Volume of plant seed oil consumption for the edible and production purposes is growing constantly.

The balanced contents of polyunsaturated acids, absence of cholesterol, presence of a wide spectrum of vitamins has made margarine one of the most demanded products both in developed, and in developing countries. Oil hardening is related to food-processing industry, i.e. to one of five priorities of Kazakhstan. The lubricants made of renewable (vegetative) raw material, are rather perspective. In comparison with traditional oils they possess smaller temperature resistance and oxidation stability, but these parameters can be improved by hydrogenation.

In industry hydrogenation of vegetable oils usually is carried out in reactors with suspended catalyst. Lacks of this way are difficulties of mass transfer during hydrogenation and also necessity to filter off this catalyst from the product. The flow reactor with the fixed bed catalyst is a good alternative to avoid these lacks. Besides process is becoming continuous, and there is an opportunity to increase selectivity due to improved mass transfer.

Use of stationary catalysts allows to simplify flow diagram of hydrogenation of unsaturated organic compounds, to reduce capital and maintenance costs of the process as compared to that for traditional technology on dispersed catalysts.

During hydrogenation of vegetable oils on disperse catalysts for margarine industry about 60 % of trans-isomers are formed. Such products are not recommended for food purposes. State standard (GOST-R 52100-2003) limits top level of trans-isomers in foodstuffs at 8 %. Therefore, objectives of the project are development of methods to increase hardness of salomases via hydrogenation over more selective catalysts or subsequent re-etherification of technical salomases, obtained over stationary catalysts in order use them in margarine industry, where maximum concentration of trans-isomers in the final product will not exceed 5-8 %.

For this purpose regimes of activation and regeneration of the alloy stationary catalysts will be developed in order to increase of their activity and stability. It is planned to use vegetable oils (cottonseed, sunflower, soybean and corn oils) as objects for hydrogenation and re-etherification, because they are of great practical value for the food-processing industry of Kazakhstan. For hydrogenation process two alloy stationary catalysts (Ni-Cr-Ti-Al and Ni-Cr-Ti-Cu-Fe-Mo-Al), which are the most active and stable for now, will be taken.

Expected results and their application

Hardness of the products with use of alloy stationary catalysts by selective hydrogenation and re-etherification of technical salomases will be increased:

Nickel-aluminum alloys with modifying additives (Cr, Ti, Cu, Fe, Mo) for the stationary catalysts will be prepared allowing to carry out hydrogenation of vegetable oils into oleic acid. Also regimes of activation and regeneration of the alloy stationary catalyst to increase its activity and stability will be developed.

Methods to increase hardness of salomases for margarine industry by re-etherification of technical salomases will be developed. This technology will allow to reduce contents of trans-isomers in final product thus increasing their biological value and assimilability by a human organism.

The technology without filtration stage for salomas production for food-processing industry by hydrogenation of vegetable oils over alloy stationary catalysts and re-etherification of products will be optimized. This technology will allow to reduce by 25-30 % capital cost of hydrogenation facilities and to reduce by 8-12 % the net cost of the products (depending on volume of production).

It is supposed, that this technology will be applied in oil and fat industry of Kazakhstan (in particular, on Chimkent oil and fat complex). After the end of the Project the authors plan transferring the obtained results to the industrial enterprises and private firms.

Technical approach and methodology

Process of hydrogenation will be carried out in a flow reactor made of stainless steel with diameter of 16 mm, height 500 mm and electric heating. The fixed bed catalyst inside the reactor consists of packing nickel-aluminum alloy with additives of alloying metals in 60 ml volume and the size of granules 3-5 mm. The surface of the granules is leached to increase their specific surface and modify the properties.

Hydrogenation into edible salomases will be carried out using various vegetable oils manufactured in Kazakhstan.

For the characterization of the obtained products iodine number, melting point, hardness, acid number, fatty acid composition (using chromatographic analysis), contents of trans-isomers (using IR-spectroscopy) will be determined.

Alloys for preparation of the catalysts will be prepared independently from nickel and aluminum with the additives (Cr, Ti, Cu, Fe, Mo).

Realization of ISTC objectives

Scientists worked in the past in defense sphere will participate in the project. Work under the Project will promote involving of the Kazakhstan scientists in world scientific community. Besides the Project is targeted to improvement of technology of food-processing industry and thus meets the priorities of Kazakhstan development.

Role of Foreign Collaborators

The Collaborator will participate in information exchange, discussion of the obtained results and in reviewing the reports sent by ISTC.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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