Fat Splitting Technology
Hydrothermal Cleanup (HCU), US Patent 10,071,322 B2, is ARA’s novel and patented pretreatment process that offers several key advantages over traditional pretreatment processes, producing a clean stream of glycerides and free fatty acid products from lower cost waste feedstocks. HCU consists of a continuous, refinery-friendly, single-step process that utilizes common refinery equipment such as pumps, heat exchangers, and a hot oil furnace or refinery high-pressure steam. The HCU process requires only water, heat, and pressure to remove metals and other inorganics from most common feedstocks.
Utilizing turbulent flow at high temperature and pressure, HCU provides thorough mixing of fats, oils, and greases and water and close contact of the molecules during its short residence time. The single step, continuous process removes metals (including organically bound metals) and other inorganic contaminants while acidulating soaps and hydrolyzing phospholipids into diglycerides and phosphate salts.
The first commercial HCU Pretreat unit has begun production with the pretreated product consistently meeting specifications. Two additional commercial units are scheduled to start up this year which will bring total installed capacity to 60,000 BPD.
HCU can also be operated at conditions to rapidly hydrolyze lipids to clean free fatty acids and glycerin. The HCU process can achieve over 98% hydrolysis of fats, oils, and greases.
Advantages over Competing Fat Splitting Technologies
- HCU achieves near complete hydrolysis in about 1/10th the time of conventional fat-splitting processes. The short residence time results in smaller physical size and footprint than other technologies.
- HCU can hydrolyze highly-contaminated feedstocks in a single step. Conventional fat-splitting technologies have stringent feedstock specifications that require additional pretreatment operations to prevent the formation of emulsions and avoid other process and product recovery problems.