The fractionation of peel oils with supercritical carbon dioxide was studied using a mixture of four key compounds. Experiments were performed On a 2-m column operated counter currently, The operating pressure and temperature ranged between 75 and 90 bar and between 40 and 80 degrees C, respectively. Solvent-to-feed ratios of 80, 80, and 120 were used. The total and partial extract refluxes were tested in order to evaluate the process feasibility. The effects of different feed insertion points and column packings were also tested. Experimental results indicate that fractionation call be successfully obtained between 75 and 80 bar and between 50 and 80 degrees C. In general, an increase of solubility corresponds to a decrease of selectivity, and thus, optimization of the separation is required. Experiments also indicate that temperature helps in separation and, furthermore, increases the recovery of oxygenated compounds. The upper Limit to the operating temperature is given, however, by the thermal stability of the product. The total and partial refluxes of the extract at the column top show a definitely positive effect on the separation. The theoretical number of mass-transfer units of the apparatus is between 2 and 3, and this finding seems Go be confirmed by experimental results. Higher fractionation efficiencies should require a larger number of these units to be obtainable, for example, with taller columns or with a column series.
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