Comparative Study of Extraction of Oil from Coconut Using Ethanol and Hexane
As the economic demand for vegetable oils increases, there is a need for improved recovery from source seeds to offset the rising demand. In many cases, the choice of extraction solvent has become a major concern owing to the different yield performance of different solvents. In most cases, ethanol has often been preferred. This is as a result of combined factors of lack of proper knowledge of several other commercially available alternatives and possibly, the technical and economic advantage it offers. This work, therefore, presents a comparative experimental investigation of two solvents (n-hexane and ethanol) performed at the Department of Chemical/Petrochemical Engineering Laboratory, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, using a sohxlet extractor. This study primarily focuses on the technical advantage of using n-hexane for seed oil extraction over the conventional ethanol using a two-stage experimental procedure was used – a seed oil extraction stage and a solvent recovery sage. In each stage, the coconut seed sample were subjected to the same experimental conditions and the yield performance is comparatively analyzed. The results of this investigation show that the n-hexane is a better solvent for the extraction of the sample coconut oilseed. The variation of solvent yield with temperature, extraction time and solvent concentration were plotted and analyzed in order to estimate and also forecast the effect of the parameters on solvent yield and also establish an optimal condition for optimal solvent yield. As part of the scope of this work, key recommendations are provided to ensure optimal solvent yield for coconut oil extraction.
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