Mixed Tocopherols / Vitamin E

Tocopherols, also known as Vitamin E, are produced from the raw material of Deodorized Distillates which in turn is produced as a by-product of the edible oil refining process.  With our extensive background in the Edible Oil Refining industry, CCI is at the forefront and is presently the only company in India that provides turnkey Tocopherols/ Vitamin E extraction plants based on Molecular Distillation Systems.  Our technology for this system is based on our exclusive collaboration with M/s ABLE Chemical & Engineering.

Vitamin E, among other antioxidants, is a focus point for consumer health interests and the medical community due to the relationship of oxidative stress in its various forms with the onset and/or control of many chronic diseases.  With global demand exceeding 50,000 tons per year, the role played by dietary antioxidants like Vitamin E in addressing this has made it a highly sought after commodity. 

CCI employs a multi-stage process in the extraction of Tocopherols / Vitamin E from a Deodorized Distillate (DD).  DD consists primarily of Saponifiable and Unsaponifiable matter.  The first stage of the CCI extraction plant is the Saponification process, whereby all the mono-,di- and tri-glycerides are treated with acids and back splits to be converted into Free Fatty Acids and the Sterol esters are converted to free Sterols and Fatty Acids.  While any trace amounts of dilute Glycerine produced during this stage could be removed and passed to the effluent by washing, it could also be evaporated and recovered if deemed commercially viable.  In this first stage, the Unsaponifiable matter is unaffected by the above process.

The second stage is the Desterilisation process, whereby the output from the first stage is dissolved in hot solvent and then cooled.  Any Sterols that crystallize out of this process is removed by filtration.  The third stage is the Esterification process, whereby all the Free Fatty Acids are converted to Methyl Esters.  The fourth stage is the Distillation process, whereby the Methyl Esters are distilled out from the other materials in the Distillation unit.

The fifth stage of the CCI extraction plant is the Re-Distillation process, whereby the residue from the fourth stage is Re-Distilled in a Molecular Distillation unit to give a distillate of crude mixed Tocopherols.  The Molecular Distillation process uses very low temperatures owing to the high vacuum and short operating time for separation, and furthermore, it does not use solvents.  Such distillate can be sold as such or re-distilled under molecular conditions by “topping” and “tailing” – this removes the light and heavy boilers as a residue leaving only the ‘middle cut’ of mixed Tocopherols which can be sold.  The ‘first cut’ and residue contain some valuable tocopherols and these are recycled for re-run to eliminate only the light boilers and residue which contain negligible amounts of tocopherols.

The sixth stage is the Homologue Conversion process, whereby the gamma and delta Tocopherols, which have a smaller number of methyl groups in the molecule than alpha Tocopherols, under a reductive chloromethylation stage to put in the methyl groups and thereby convert the gamma and delta Tocopherols to alpha Tocopherols.  The seventh stage is the Distillation process, whereby the crude alpha Tocopherols are distilled under molecular distillation conditions to obtain a higher potency ‘middle cut’.  The light boilers and residue are further recycled in this stage in order to minimize wastage of any trace amounts of Tocopherols.  The eighth stage is Acetylation stage, whereby the alpha Tocopherols are converted to the Acetate Esters.  The final stage is re-distillation of the Acetate Esters in a molecular still.

The main by-product from the above sequence are the Phytosterols that is obtained in Stage Two.  It is viable to recrystalise these from the same solvent, filter the pure sterols, dry in the fluid bed dryer, powder and package for sale.  Depending on the amount of oil being processed, there is also a Tin recovery process which can be another lucrative by-product of the above process.

Plant Capacity Range – 1 TPD – 5 TPD of Soy Deodistillate

Utility Consumption per ton of Deo-distillate
Steam (10 barg) 4500 Kgs/hr.
Electrical Energy 70 kWh/hr.
Water 15.5 m3
Phosphoric Acid (85%) 10 Kgs approx.
Iso-propyl Alcohol (100%) 120 Kgs.approx.
Caustic Soda (Solid) 217 Kgs. approx.
Hydrochloric Acid (37%) 425 Kgs. approx.
I.M.S. (99%) 30 lts. approx.
Methanol (99%) 300 lts. approx.
Sulfuric Acid (98% conc.) 28 Kgs. approx.
I.P.E. (98%) 318 lts. approx.
Sn C12 (97% solid) 75 Kgs. approx.
Paraformaldehyde (99%) 21.5 Kgs. approx.
Hydrochloric Gas 125 Kgs. approx.
Aldehydrine (98%) 9 Kgs. approx.
Acetic Anhydride (commercial grade) 57 Kgs. approx.
Sodium Acetate (commercial grade) 20 Kgs. approx.
Hydroquinone (commercial grade) 0.3 Kgs. approx.
Lime for Tin Recovery (slaked) 50 Kgs. approx.
Output Product Data (based on min. 8% Tocopherol content in Deo-distillate)
Tocopherol Recovery 6% min.
Mixed Tocopherols Purity 80% min.(after Molecular Still)