Hydrogenation tends to increase the melting point of the vegetable oils (that have very low melting points) to about 360C that is near about human body temperature. Hence, the hydrogenated oils that normally remain in solid state get liquefied at human body temperature. Hence, the hydrogenated oils and thus, these are widely used in varied food item like snacks, bakery products, sweets, etc.
Basically, all oils have both unsaturated as well as saturated fatty acids. By adding hydrogen, unsaturated gats get converted to saturated fats, decreasing the overall iodine value. Finally, the hydrogenated oil gets solidified at lower temperature.
The entire process of hydrogenation is carried out in batch vessels under pressure, in which, oil to be hydrogenated is heated. The entire hydrogenation process is done in the presence of nickel catalyst.
Post hydrogenation, the catalyst is recovered for re-use through the filtration of hydrogenated oil in plate and frame filter presses. The hydrogenation process ensures no loss of oil, as the hydrogen added makes up the oil loss goes with the catalyst.
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