Energy and Exergy Analysis of a Vegetable Oil Refinery


Energy and exergy analysis was conducted for a vegetable oil refinery in the Southwest of Nigeria. The plant, powered by two boilers and a 500 kVA generator, refines 100 tonnes of crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) into edible vegetable oil per day. The production system consists of four main group operations: neutralizer, bleacher, filter, and deodourizer. The performance of the plant was evaluated by considering energy and exergy losses of each unit operation of the production process. The energy intensity for processing 100 tonnes of palm kennel oil into edible oil was estimated as 487.04 MJ/tonne with electrical energy accounting for 4.65%, thermal energy, 95.23% and manual energy, 0.12%. The most energy intensive group operation was the deodourizer accounting for 56.26% of the net energy input. The calculated exergy efficiency of the plant is 38.6% with a total exergy loss of 29919 MJ. Consequently, the exergy analysis revealed that the deodourizer is the most inefficient group operation accounting for 52.41% of the losses in the production processes. Furthermore, a critical look at the different component of the plant revealed that the boilers are the most inefficient units accounting for 69.7% of the overall losses. Other critical points of exergy losses of the plant were also identified. The increase in the total capacity of the plant was suggested in order to reduce the heating load of the boilers. Furthermore, the implementation of appropriate process heat integration can also help to improve the energy efficiency of the system. The suggestion may help the company to reduce its high expenditure on energy and thus improve the profit margin.

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M. Sulaiman, A. Oni and D. Fadare, "Energy and Exergy Analysis of a Vegetable Oil Refinery," Energy and Power Engineering, Vol. 4 No. 5, 2012, pp. 358-364. doi: 10.4236/epe.2012.45047.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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