PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP0236446 09.01.1992
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0236446
Titel FLÜSSIGKEITSEXTRAKTION AUS FESTSTOFFEN MITTELS MASSENÜBERTRAGUNG.
Anmelder Vitamins Inc., Chicago, Ill., US
Erfinder RICE, K., Wayne, Wanatah, IN 46390, US
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 3682670
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, CH, DE, FR, GB, IT, LI, LU, NL, SE
Sprache des Dokument En
EP-Anmeldetag 05.09.1986
EP-Aktenzeichen 869056309
WO-Anmeldetag 05.09.1986
PCT-Aktenzeichen US8601839
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 8701381
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 12.03.1987
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 16.09.1987
EP date of grant 27.11.1991
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 09.01.1992
IPC-Hauptklasse C09F 5/02
IPC-Nebenklasse C11B 1/06   

Beschreibung[en]

The present invention concerns a method of extracting soluble materials from a material to be extracted and an apparatus for performing this method.

The invention is based on the discovery that liquids may be advantageously extracted from solids by contacting the solid material to be extracted with selected extracting fluids at elevated pressure, and separating the fluids (i.e. the extracting fluid and the extracted liquid) in mass from the solids while maintaining the elevated pressure, without the need to continuously pump additional extracting fluid through the material to be extracted, and preferably while compacting the solids.

The invention broadly provides a method and apparatus having maximum flexibility as to time, temperature and pressure conditions applied to extract a wide variety of raw materials and, using a wide variety of extraction solvents, produce maximum yields of the product which may be either the extract or the extracted product, without the need to modify the equipment.

The use of liquefied gases and supercritical fluids to carry out extractions at high elevated pressure has been described in the prior art. Such prior art methods involve the use of liquefied gases or supercritical fluids at pressures in excess of 206 to 345 bar (3,000 to 5,000 psi), although in some cases the recommended pressures exceed 689 bar (10,000 psi).

Extraction methods run at extremely high pressures are described in the following United States patents: 4,156,688; 4,328,255; 4,466,923; 4,493,854; 4,495,207; 4,683,063.

Generally speaking, these prior art methods separate the extracted material from the residual solids by an elution or dilution process, wherein the supercritical fluids are pumped through the material to be extracted over a period of time, and as the extracting fluid is pumped through the solids the level of extractable liquid in the solids is gradually reduced.

Further, it is know from FR-A-1206381 to use a piston to mechanically compress the solid material when the piston is lowered. The piston is permeable to fluids but not to solids so that lowering the piston separates the fluid from the solid material. However, FR-A-1206381 does not disclose to discharge the fluid from the apparatus while the pressure is maintained on the system.

Moreover, the exemplary solvents disclosed in FR-A-1206381 are usual solvents: methanol is quoted explicitly, other quoted examples imply that the solvent is water. Clearly the apparatus of FR-A-1206381 is not designed to be used with a supercritical fluid gas as a solvent. If a supercritical fluid gas is used as a solvent to extract solids in the apparatus of FR-A-1206381, the pressure of the fluid mixture would change before the fluid mixture is separated from the system, resulting in a dramatic change of the solubility of the selected materials in the supercritical fluid and thus of the composition of the fluid mixture, so that the purpose of the method would be defeated.

Also, it is know from FR-A-1358790 to use a worm press as a filter. The screw is used for conveying a slurry to be filtered to a filter means. There is no indication that the screw is designed to generate internal pressures. Except for a very primitive means embodied in a weight balanced cover lid, the apparatus of FR-A-1358790 appears to have no provision to control the internal pressure on the materials within the apparatus nor on the fluid mixture, and there is no hint in FR-A-1358790 that the fluid mixture should be maintained at a pressure level above ambient pressure. On the contrary, in FR-A-1358790 the space provided on the discharge side of the porous element of the filter means is said to be advantageously placed under vacuum. Moreover, this strongly indicates that no substantial pressures are contemplated inside the worm press. Also, nothing in FR-A-1358790 suggests the formation of a solid plug of extracted material which is sufficient to withstand the elevated extraction pressures inside the screw chamber. Clearly the apparatus of FR-A-1358790 is not designed to be used with a supercritical fluid gas as a solvent, and there is no means to maintain the pressure on the fluid mixture as the latter is discharged from the apparatus. If a supercritical fluid gas is used as a solvent to extract solids in the apparatus of FR-A-1358790, the pressure of the fluid mixture would change as the fluid mixture becomes separated from the system, resulting in a dramatic change of the solubility of the selected materials in the supercritical fluid and thus of the composition of the fluid mixture, so that the purpose of the method would be defeated.

To overcome the above mentioned drawback of the quoted prior art and to maintain the solubility of the selected materials in the supercritical fluid and thus the composition of the fluid mixture, the invention provides the method of extracting soluble materials from a material to be extracted defined in claim 1, and, for performing this method, the apparatus defined in claim 10. Preferred embodiments of the invention are apparent from the appended claims.

The method of the invention is predicated on the fact that carbon dioxide and other gases such as nitrogen and argon become very effective solvents for certain materials when compressed to such elevated pressures and maintained at such temperatures that they are in their supercritical fluid state. In particular, soybeans contain components which are soluble in supercritical fluid carbon dioxide when the latter is compressed to elevated pressures above 103 bar (1,500 psi), for instance to elevated pressures of 275 bar (4,000 psi) or even of 827 bar (12,000 psi).

The solvent characteristics of supercritical fluid carbon dioxide change dramatically as its pressure varies in the range of said elevated pressures.

Of course, the solvent characteristics of supercritical fluid carbon dioxide depend on temperature, too. Thus, the composition of the mixture can be controlled by controlling the pressure while maintaining a constant temperature, and different results may be obtained at different temperatures.

If gases other than supercritical fluid carbon dioxide are used, the corresponding ranges with respect to the temperatures and pressures can be obtained from data described in handbooks of physical chemistry.

In view of the above mentioned parameters and effects, the method of the invention takes advantage of the changing solubility of the selected materials in supercritical fluid carbon dioxide and provides a mechanism whereby selected materials can be dissolved in supercritical fluid carbon dioxide. Moreover, the teaching of the invention can be extended to other supercritical fluid gases.

The invention contemplates two different types of apparatus which will be satisfactory in carrying out the method of the invention.

In a first embodiment, a piston and cylinder apparatus establishes a variable volume chamber in which the material to be extracted, the supercritical fluid gas and the resulting fluid mixture are maintained at high pressure. The resulting fluid mixture is separated from the extracted solid material by passing through the porous media at the bottom of the cylinder and out of the cylinder through a valve. It is essential that the rate at which the fluid mixture is removed from the variable volume cylinder be controlled and coordinated with the movement of the piston into the cylinder in order to maintain the pressure in the variable volume cylinder at the selected pressure level at all times throughout the removal of the resulting fluid mixture from the apparatus, lest the composition of the resulting fluid mixture will change.

In a second embodiment, a screw and press apparatus is adapted to control and maintain the selected pressure within a discharge section as the resulting fluid mixture passes through a porous membrane. Again, at least in the discharge section the material to be extracted, the supercritical fluid gas and the resulting fluid mixture are maintained at high pressure. And again, it is essential to maintain the pressure both in the discharge section and the discharged fluid mixture at the selected pressure level at all times throughout the removal of the discharged fluid mixture from the apparatus, lest the composition of the discharged fluid mixture will change. To this effect, a jacket surrounding the porous membrane controls the pressure drop across the porous membrane with the help of a valve.

Thus, the present invention contemplates the separation of the fluids (i.e. the extracting fluid and the extracted liquids) in a single, continuous, brief operation without the addition of further extracting fluid to the system. The present invention provides advantages over the prior art in the following particulars:

  • 1. The method of the invention may be carried out in relatively simple apparatus which has few components which are easily maintained. The equipment cost is relatively low per unit volume of product processed therein. The process can be easily controlled and operated without large numbers of skilled personnel. The process readily lends itself to automatic control.
  • 2. The method of the invention is energy efficient in that it can be operated at maximum saturation of the extracting fluid throughout the full transfer cycle. The mass transfer (or discharge cycle) is relatively short in duration as compared to prior art elution or dilution processes. The method of the invention may be operated with a reduced quantity of extracting fluid. The mass transfer rate may be maximised for the temperatures and pressures selected for the extraction operation.
  • 3. The apparatus of the invention is mechanically efficient.

Specifically, in the above mentioned first embodiment, the piston which closes the extraction chamber can be readily removed in and out of the cylinder without the need of cumbersome manipulation of fasteners and complicated high pressure seals. Material to be processed is rapidly charged and readily removed after the extraction. The extraction process itself is rapid and can be readily automated to achieve large volume production. The pressure on the extracting fluid in the presence of the material to be extracted may be increased by charging the cylinder with extracting fluid and moving the piston into the cylinder until the desired pressure is achieved. Alternatively, the desired pressure level may be achieved by pumping sufficient extracting fluid into the cylinder with an external pump to reach the desired pressure. Thereafter, the mass transfer separation of the extracting fluid and extract (which is soluble or entrained in the extracting fluid) from the solid is effected by discharging the fluids from the cylinder at a controlled rate while the pressure within the extraction vessel is maintained. The piston is simultaneously moved into the cylinder at a controlled rate, to compensate for the volumes of the fluid which are bled off, thus maintaining the pressure within the extraction vessel relatively constant and maintaining the chosen extract solubility conditions. This permits a mass transfer separation of the extracting fluid and liquid extract from the remaining solids, at high pressures, without the need to add more extracting fluid, under conditions in which the solubility of the extracted liquid in the extracting fluid is highest, thus producing extracted residue which has greatly reduced level of extractable solubles. The most complete extraction is achieved by physically compacting the extracted solid material as the extracting fluid and extracted liquid are removed from the apparatus.

The liquid mixture of extract and extracting fluid, which is removed from the cylinder at high pressure, can be effectively and completely separated thereafter. The extracting fluid may be recycled for further extractions.

Other objectives, advantages and capabilities of the present invention will become more apparent as the description proceeds, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

  • FIGURE 1 is a schematic diagram of a variable volume cylinder extraction apparatus shown in cutaway side view; and
  • FIGURE 2 is a schematic diagram of a screw press extraction apparatus, shown in cutaway, side view.

APPARATUS - FIGURE 1

Referring to FIGURE 1 of the drawings, variable volume cylinder extraction apparatus of the present invention is shown generally at 10. Basically, the extractor 10 comprises thick-walled cylinder 20 within which is mounted piston 40. The extractor 10 is operationally positioned within hydraulic press 50.

The cylinder 20 generally comprises a thick-walled stainless steel vessel with a closed bottom 21 having a cylindrical inner surface 22 adapted to mate with piston 40. Piston 40 is adapted to move within the bore of cylinder 20, thereby defining the variable volume cylinder 42 which serves as the extraction vessel. Piston 40 is removable from cylinder 20 in order to allow charging of the material to be extracted 60. Preferably the shape of the bottom 21 of the cylinder approximates the shape of lower face 44 of piston 40, so that when the piston 40 is fully lowered, the effective volume of cylinder 42 is minimal and the material to be extracted 60 may be compacted under considerable force. The outer wall 24 of cylinder 20 defines wall 26 which is sufficiently strong to maintain the desired pressures, e.g., 15,000 psi., with an appropriate safety factor.

It is preferred that the length of cylinder 20 be sufficient to maintain piston 40 in an axial alignment with the cylinder wall 26. Similarly, piston 40 must have sufficient length to maintain the axial relationship with the inner surface 22. Seal 46 on piston 40 provides a pressure seal adequate to avoid loss of pressure in the cylinder at the operating pressures, e.g., 15,000 psi or higher. The seal may comprise an O-ring within a cup, but other forms of seals may also be used. Extracting fluid charging port 32, within piston 40, is adapted to introduce the extracting fluid axially into the cylinder 20 at the desired pressures. Extracting fluid charging port 32 is connected through valve 33 to an extracting fluid supply (not shown).

At the cylinder bottom 21, liquid discharge port 34 connects the cylinder to a recovery vessel (not shown) through discharge valve 36. Perforated plate 37 and gauze pad 38 are installed in the bottom of the cylinder above discharge port 34. The perforated plate 37 has a plurality of holes through its thickness and preferably has grooves in the bottom interconnecting the holes and discharge port 34. The perforated plate 37 and gauze pad 38 allows the extracting fluid-extract mix to be discharged over the whole area of the piston and to prevent the solid material being extracted 60 from being forced into discharge port 34. A pressure gauge 35 is connected to discharge line 34 in a manner to read on the pressure at the base 21 of cylinder 20. A similar gauze pad and perforated plate (not shown) may be used above the material to be extracted 60 and below piston 40 to distribute the extracting fluid from charging port 32 over the whole area of the piston and to avoid any blockage of charging port 32.

The hydraulic press 50 must be large enough to accommodate the variable volume cylinder 10, and strong enough to move piston 40 into the cylinder 20 to create or maintain the desired pressures and to maintain the desired pressures as the liquids are removed from the cylinder. Generally the variable volume cylinder 10 rests on and is supported by base 52 of hydraulic press 50. The piston 54 of the hydraulic press couples with the upper portion of piston 40 and is adapted to move piston 40 vertically. Gauge 56 is connected to the hydraulic system of the press and reads the force being exerted on cylinder 20 by the hydraulic press 50.

It is preferred that inner surface of cylinder 22 be smooth and free from surface blemishes, including inlet or outlet ports. Accordingly, it is preferred that the extracting fluid charging port 32 be arranged within the piston 40, and that the discharge port 34 be positioned axially, or below the piston. In this embodiment, the piston seal 46 will not encounter any discontinuous surfaces in the face of the cylinder wall.

In order to operate the apparatus of FIGURE 1, the piston 40 is removed from cylinder 20 and the material to be extracted 60 is charged into the cylinder 20. Piston 40 is then placed in cylinder 20 as shown in FIGURE 1 where it forms a gas-tight seal above charging port 32. It may be desirable to purge air from the cylinder using the extracting fluid in order to remove any oxygen or other gases not required or desired for the extraction process. This may be done by charging the extracting fluid through port 32 while valve 36 is open.

After any required purging has been accomplished, valve 36 is closed and the charging of the extracting fluid is continued until the desired level of extracting fluid has been charged to the cylinder through port 32.

The amount of extracting fluid charged may vary over wide limits, depending upon the nature of the fluid, the nature of the material to be extracted and the type of process to be used. The examples which follow illustrate the use of carbon dioxide to extract wheat germ wherein equal weights of gas and material to be extracted are used, as well as processes wherein the weight of the gas is several times the weight of the material to be extracted. As those skilled in the art might expect, the process employing greater amounts of gas provided greater yield of extract. The present invention also contemplates the use of less gas than solids, although it is generally believed the yield of extract will be diminished.

As is explained above, the desired pressure within the extraction vessel may be achieved either by charging sufficient extracting fluid to achieve the pressure without movement of the piston or, alternatively, by charging a lesser amount of extracting fluid and achieving the desired pressure by moving the piston down into the cylinder. The pressure used will be dependent upon the nature of the extracting fluid used and the material to be extracted. Pressures of about 12,000 psi are useful for extracting wheat germ and soybeans with CO&sub2;. The temperature at which the process takes place may vary over wide limits, depending upon the nature of the solids, the extracting fluid and the pressure used. The temperature is selected to achieve the desired level of solubility of the extract in the extracting fluid.

In connection with the extraction of certain materials using certain extracting fluids, it may be desirable to allow an induction period wherein the material to be extracted is allowed to remain in contact with the extracting fluid at selected temperatures and pressures for a limited period of time.

After any required induction period has been completed, the extracted liquid and extracting fluid are then separated as a mass from the solids extracted. In the simplest case, pressure reduction valve 36 is opened slightly to slowly bleed off the mixture of extracting gas and extracted liquid from cylinder 42 through outlet 34. The downward movement of the piston 40 into cylinder 20 is continued at a coordinated rate necessary to maintain the pressure in the extraction vessel at the desired level to maintain the solubility of the extract. The downward movement of the piston is continued until the charged solids become essentially a solid mass at which time the pressure generated by the hydraulic press, as shown by gauge 56, rises with little further downward movement of the piston 40. The discharge of the fluids through discharge valve 36 can be continued, but the pressure shown at gauge 35 does not increase because at this point essentially all of the extracting fluid has been bled from the cylinder along with the extracted liquid.

The material to be extracted may be partially compacted before it is placed into the cylinder for extraction, but extensive compaction is preferably avoided. There is no general requirement for any pretreatment of the material to be extracted. In other words, seed which are whole, flaked or steamed prior to treatment may be used, but the yields may differ depending upon the seed used and the particular pretreatment.

Using the apparatus shown in FIGURE 1, the material to be extracted is charged by removing piston 40 from cylinder 20. The present invention contemplates a wide variety of charging mechanisms. For instance, an open ended cylinder may be equipped with two opposed pistons which are timed to charge and discharge cakes of the material to be extracted. The use of a cylinder with two open ends provides advantages as to fabrication and maintenance. Alternatively, the cylinder may be equipped with an axial breach lock mechanism to permit the opening of the bottom of the cylinder to load the material to be extracted without the need to remove the piston from the cylinder. Breach lock mechanisms, such as are used in large guns which are secured by interrupted threads and suitable sealing mechanisms, may be used. If desired, the outlet port for the cylinder, including the necessary valving, may be built into the breach block mechanism.

The present invention is not limited to any specific ratio of piston diameter to piston stroke. Generally speaking, it is contemplated that increasing the ratio of the piston stroke to the piston diameter is advantageous for the extraction of materials containing a relatively high level of extractables.

The apparatus of FIGURE 1 provides for great flexibility in carrying out the process of the present invention in that the time, temperature and pressure used to carry out the extraction for various raw materials can be readily selected and controlled without the need to modify the equipment. The type and amount of solvent may be varied and controlled, again without the need to modify the equipment.

APPARATUS - FIGURE 2

The apparatus illustrated in FIGURE 2 is fundamentally a screw press or screw mill or expeller type device 100 which comprises a screw 110 within barrel 120. Barrel 120 is closed at the input 122 end and at output end 124 is precision fitted with adjustable cone valve 126, which has a shape complimentary to tapered opening 128 in barrel 120. Screw 110 is driven by drive means 108. Screw mill 110 is divided into four different sections, namely sections 112, 114, 116 and 118, wherein the flights of the screw in these sections are constructed to carry out different functions.

At the input end of the press 100, the screw flights in section 112 are designed to form a plug of material to be extracted. The screw flights in section 114 are designed to masticate the compressed plug while extracting fluid is injected at elevated pressure into the barrel of 120 of mill 100. The mastication of the plug is essential to achieve intimate mixing of the extracting fluid with the material to be extracted. The mastication may be achieved through the interrupted flights and/or fingers or dams or other flow restricting devices within the barrel. The objective of section 114 is to masticate the material to be extracted in contact with the compressed extracting fluid at the desired temperature and pressure. The screw flights in section 114 transport the mixture of the extracting fluid and material to be extracted to section 116, which provides for a controlled release of the extracting fluid-extract mixture into manifold 160 through porous sieve 162. Finally, the solids move by the screw flights in section 118, to transport the solids to output end through adjustable precision fit cone valve 126.

Material feed means 140 is designed to feed the material to be extracted to the screw press at the input end in section 112. The feed means may include feed hopper 142 and feed screw 144.

The solvent gases may be injected into the screw press using a variety of mechanisms. In the preferred embodiment, barrel 120 includes extracting fluid inlets 150, around periphery of barrel 120, which surrounds section 114 of the screw, in a manner which permits injection of the extracting fluid while maintaining the pressure at the desired levels, e.g., 12,000 psig. Fluid inlets 150 communicate with an extracting fluid supply (not shown) through manifold 152.

Alternatively, the extracting fluid may be injected into the screw press 100 through an axial opening 154 in screw 110, which communicates with inlet openings 156 in section 114 of screw 110.

Recovery zone 160 generally comprises an annular porous sieve 162, adapted to communicate fluid pressure in section 116 to pressure housing 164 through barrel 120. In this embodiment, the pressure within housing 164 is controlled to provide a suitable pressure drop between the interior of the screw press at section 116 and the recovery system so that high pressure extracting fluid-extract mixture emerges from the screw press to recovery system 160.

After passing through recovery zone 116, the extracted solids are transported through zone 118 to opening 124, at which time they are discharged from barrel 120 through adjustable precision fit cone valve 126, thus emerging as a compacted solid at atmospheric pressure.

In operation, the material feed hopper 142 may be filled with soybean flakes or a similar material to be extracted. Feed screw 144 forces the soybean flakes under pressure into the screw press at section 112 where a plug of material to be extracted is formed. In section 112, the flights of screw 110 are adjacent to the inner surface of barrel 120. The screw is turned at a rate which causes compaction of the input flakes sufficiently to withstand the desired operating pressures of the extraction, and prevent any blow back of high pressure extracting fluid. The compacted flakes are then transported to section 114. At this point, the flights of screw 110 do not create any further compaction or any increase in pressure, but permit the extracting fluid from inlets 150 and/or 156 to contact and mix with the compacted material to be extracted. The material to be extracted is thus mixed with the extracting fluid while the mixture is transported from section 114 into section 116.

Within section 116 the flights of screw 110 are separated from porous media 162 in order to build up a slight cake of solids which function as a filter which helps to avoid the extrusion of solids into the porous media 162. The porous media 162, however, permits the fluid materials to bleed through from the section 116 to recovery area 160. As this happens, the solids are progressively transported from section 116 to section 118. No further compaction is required in section 118. The extracted material is transported to the adjustable cone valve solids outlet 126 for discharge and recovery. The internal system pressure will assist the transport of solids to and through the precision cone valve 126.

THE EXTRACTING FLUID

In carrying out the invention, a wide variety of extracting fluids may be used. Although most of the examples herein below illustrate the use of carbon dioxide to extract lipid oils from seed vegetables, the present invention is not limited to any specific extracting fluid.

Generally it is preferred to use an extracting fluid which is normally gaseous. However, one may also use fluids which are liquid at normal conditions, but which are gaseous at the extraction temperature and at atmospheric pressure. Extracting fluids which are gaseous provide enhanced mass transfer separation of the extracted liquid from the extracted solids. Gaseous extracting fluids may be readily separated from extracted liquids, which provides obvious advantages.

It is most preferred to employ as the extracting fluid a substance which is gaseous at operating temperature and atmospheric presure and which under the conditions of the extraction, functions as a solvent for the extract or some portion of the extract. As is illustrated by the examples, at least under some conditions, extracting fluids having solvent properties provide higher extract yields. However, as is demonstrated by Example 4, below, non-solvent gases such a nitrogen are effective and may be desirable in that they do not produce the pronounced refrigeration effect produced by carbon dioxide and some other solvent type gases. Other useful gases include nitrogen, nitrous oxide, freons, low molecular weight hydrocarbons such as ethane or propane and mixtures thereof. The present invention contemplates the use of hexane, isopropanol, propylene glycol and other solvent-type materials as the extracting fluid. Liquid solvents may be employed for some purposes either alone or with gaseous extracting fluids. Mixtures of extracting fluids and multiple or sequential extractions using different extracting fluids are also contemplated.

In one embodiment, a supercritical fluid, such as carbon dioxide, is used under conditions which cause liquefication. It is preferred to use the carbon dioxide at temperatures and pressures which provide for supercritical conditions, i.e., above 31.1°C. and above 73.8 bar. If gases other than carbon dioxide are used, the ranges with respect to the temperatures and pressures outlined hereinafter in the specification can be obtained from data described in handbooks of physical chemistry.

The present invention also contemplates mixing the material to be extracted with the extracting fluid before the material to be extracted is charged to the extraction vessel. For example, carbon dioxide, in the form of dry ice, may be premixed with the oil seeds and the mixture of dry ice with the oil seeds thereafter charged to the extraction vessel. It is contemplated that the addition of solid dry ice particles to oil seeds prior to passing the oil seeds through a conventional screw press in a deoiling process would enhance the recovery of oil from such a process.

EXTRACTING TEMPERATURE

A wide variety of temperatures may be employed in operating the equipment of the apparatus of the present invention. Although the examples which follow illustrate the use of temperatures in the 40-100°C range to extract oil seeds, higher temperatures may be preferable in that the extracting fluids are more mobile even though they may be somewhat less effective as solvents at higher temperatures. Such factors as the moisture in the material to be extracted can vary the optimum conditions for carrying out the extraction.

The present invention also contemplates the use of much higher temperatures, e.g., 500°C, wherein the apparatus functions as a chemical autoclave. It is postulated that selected reactions could be carried out in a shorter reaction time, with less solvents and increased yield.

EXTRACTING PRESSURE

Although the examples which follow illustrate the use of 12,000 pounds per square inch pressure within the extraction vessel on oil seeds, the present invention is not so limited. A wide variety of pressures, extracting fluids and operating temperatures and pressures may be used. The present invention further contemplates the extraction using variable pressures during the extraction process.

It is considered essential to maintain the pressure in the extraction vessel, while the extracting fluid-extract mixture is separated from the extracted solids and discharged from the extraction vessel. The pressure in the extraction vessel, however, need not be the maximum pressure of the extraction, nor is it necessary to maintain a uniform pressure in the extraction vessel throughout the separation. For certain materials, it may be desirable to permit a dwell time wherein the extracting fluid is maintained under pressure in contact with the material to be extracted.

COMPACTION

A preferred embodiment of the present invention contemplates the compaction or physical crushing of the material to be extracted in order to expel the maximum amount of extract. The compaction functions to enhance the mass transfer separation of the extracting fluid and the extracted liquid from the solid residue. In the case of seed vegetables, it is postulated that the compaction will rupture cells and thus enhance the availability of the oil in the cells. Tests have shown that using the apparatus of FIGURE 1 that an extraction without compaction will produce a cake with as much as 3% retained oil, while an extraction run under generally the same conditions, but with compaction, will produce a cake with less than 1% of retained oil.

It has been found that using the variable volume cylinder described above and shown in FIGURE 1, that better yields of the extracted liquids are achieved by charging sufficient material to be extracted into the cylinder to form a cake of some depth, e.g., one inch thick, after compaction. It is postulated that a thick cake is less prone to channeling of the extracting fluid than a relatively thin cake.

RECOVERY OF EXTRACT

The oil which is bled off through the discharge valve along with the liquefied carbon dioxide may be recovered simply by allowing the carbon dioxide to volitalize.

Alternatively, the carbon dioxide-oil mixtures removed from the variable volume cylinder may be retained under reduced, but substantial pressures, e.g., 1,500 psi. Under such conditions, the solubility of the oil in the carbon dioxide is significantly reduced and the recovery of the oil from the gas may be accomplished without volatilizing the gas. The carbon dioxide may be retained at elevated pressure, e.g., 1,500 psi, for recycling through the extraction vessel.

MATERIALS EXTRACTED

The process and apparatus of the present invention may be applied to extract of a wide variety of liquids from a wide variety of solid materials. Although the word "liquid" has been and hereinto define the "extract" of the extraction process, the process of the present invention may be used to separate solid extracts, such as waxy materials, or solids which are soluble in the extracting fluid from the solid material being extracted. The present invention also contemplates the extraction of liquids from other liquids or semi-solid materials.

As is illustrated by the examples, the present invention may be adapted to extract a wide variety of liquids from organic matter, including the extraction of oils from wheat germ and soybeans. The present invention also contemplates extracting caffine from coffee or tea, hops extraction, the extraction of residual oils from various substances including petroleum products from oil shale or tar sands. It is further contemplated that the processes and products of the present invention may be used to recover diluted solvents from water, diesel oil from drilling muds and other compounds, to regenerated activated carbon and other adsorbants which are contaminated with organics, coal liquefication or extraction, removal of impurities from polymer melts, separating waxes and resins from residual oil, delignification and pulping of wood, oxidation of hazardous wastes and deashing synthetic fuels.

The process and apparatus of the present invention may be used to extract colors, flavors, essences and medicinal products, such as drugs, from such natural products as roots, bark, leaves, flowers and seeds. For example, colors may be extracted from annato, turmeric and cochineal; oleoresins may be extracted from roots and the like. Similarly, animal based products, such as glands, liver, pancreas and spinal cord may be extracted. The present invention also may be used to produce marine source products, such as separation and concentration of selected fatty acids from marine lipids.

The process and apparatus of the present invention is particularly useful in carrying out the extraction of oil from seed vegetables as is described in U.S. Patent No. 4,493,854 to Friedrich and Eldridge, the extraction of lipids from lipid containing materials as described in U.S. Patent No. 4,466,923 to Friedrich, and the production of food grain corn germ as described in U.S. Patent No. 4,495,03 to Christianson and Friedrich, in extracting coffee oil from roasted coffee as described in U.S. Patent No. 4,328,255 to Roselius, Vitzthum and Hurbert, and in fractionating butterfat as described in U.S. Patent No. 4,504,503 to Biernoth et al.

The following examples will serve to illustrate the process of the present invention and the apparatus thereof in extracting several oil seeds, but it is understood that these examples are set forth for illustration and many other products may be extracted using suitable variations. Examples 1, 6 and 12 do not illustrate the present invention, but are set forth for comparative purposes.

All examples were conducted in an apparatus similar to that depicted by FIGURE 1.

EXAMPLE 1

The cylinder had an outside diameter of 5 inches and was 11-3/4 inches high with a central bore 2-1/4 inches in diameter and 9-3/8 inches long. The piston was 10 inches in length and 2-1/4 inches in diameter, which gave it an effective area of 3.96 square inches. The effective stroke of the piston was about 5 inches.

A wad of gauze 38 was placed at the bottom of the cylinder above perforated plate 37. The cylinder was charged with 100 grams of full-fat wheat germ meal containing about 10.5% fat. A wad of gauze was placed over the charge of wheat germ meal and a perforated plate was placed on top of the gauze. Valve 36 was opened to permit the escape of any gases in the system. Valve 33 was closed throughout the experiment.

The piston was inserted in the cylinder and hand closed. The uncompressed cake was about 4 inches high. The cylinder was maintained at a temperature of about 90-95°C throughout the experiment. The hydraulic press was engaged and the piston moved downwardly 2.75, at which time gauge 56 showed a reading of 30 tons, which is approximately 15,000 psi pressing on the cake in the cylinder. The cake was about 1.25 inches thick and had a specific gravity of 1.1. No oil was discharged from the apparatus during this experiment, although traces of oil could be seen on the gauze.

EXAMPLE 2

Using the apparatus described in Example 1, 100 grams of full-fat wheat germ meal were placed in the cylinder. Cotton gauze and a perforated plate were placed on top, according to the procedure of Example 1. The cylinder was maintained at 90-93°C. Valve 36 was closed and carbon dioxide was charged to the system through valve 33 to a pressure in the cylinder of 1,100 psi. This charged about 100 grams of CO&sub2; into the cylinder. When the charging had been accomplished, gauge 56 read about 2 tons which is equivalent to 1,000 psi in the cylinder. Valve 33 was closed and piston 40 was lowered until gauge 35 showed the gas pressure within the cylinder was 12,000 psi. At this point, valve 36 was opened to permit the discharge of a mixture of CO&sub2; gas and wheat germ oil, while the piston was lowered to hold the pressure at 12,000 psi.

About 7 grams of a very cold, thick oil emerged from valve 36 during a 30-40 second interval. The operation of the hydraulic press was continued until the force shown by gauge 56 began to rise above 24 tons, which was equivalent to 12,000 psi within the extraction cylinder, without any increase in the gas pressure shown by gauge 35.

The resulting compressed cake was smaller than the cake produced in Example 1 and had a lighter color. The cake had about 4% retained oil which indicates about 60% of the original oil was removed.

EXAMPLE 3

Using the equipment and procedure of Example 1, 100 grams of wheat germ was placed in the cylinder and CO&sub2; gas was charged continuously until about 12,000 psi was reached. This provided a ratio of 3 parts of gas by weight for each part of meal.

A few seconds after the operating pressure of 12,000 psi was reached, the carbon dioxide-wheat germ oil was bled off through valve 36 while maintaining the pressure with a hydraulic press. Again, the pressure was maintained on the cake until all of the CO&sub2; and dissolved wheat germ oil had been discharged. The resulting cake contained 1.1% oil (based on an ether extract).

Similar to Example 2, continued pressure on the cake with the hydraulic press did not discharge any additional oil.

EXAMPLE 4

Using an apparatus described in Example 2, the cylinder was charged with 100 grams of full-fat wheat germ meal and pressurized with nitrogen gas to 2,500 psi. The piston was lowered using the hydraulic press to achieve 12,000 psi whereupon valve 36 was opened to discharge the nitrogen gas and entrained oil. As the nitrogen was removed, a quantity of oil was recovered.

The piston was raised and the cylinder was again charged with 2,500 psi of nitrogen (at 92° C). Again, the piston was lowered to achieve 12,000 psi and the nitrogen-entrained gas was discharged through valve 36. An additional quantity of oil was recovered leaving a residual fat of about 5% in the cake (based on ether extract).

The cake had a similar appearance to the cake in Example 2. The use of nitrogen gas, as illustrated in Example 4, was found advantageous in that nitrogen does not demonstrate a pronounced refrigeration effect. Thus, problems with freeze up of valves and plugging of lines are largely avoided through the use of nitrogen.

EXAMPLE 5

A variable volume cylinder similar to that shown in FIGURE 1 was used, but the cylinder had a gas injection port through the sidewall of the cylinder near the top of the cylinder.

The cylinder was charged with 40 grams of full-fat, raw soybean flakes. The piston was put in place to form a gas tight seal above the gas injection port. The cylinder was flushed with carbon dioxide to thoroughly purge any air. Valve 36 was then closed.

The temperature of the cylinder was heated to 52°. The heaters were turned off and CO&sub2; at 1,300 psi was applied to the cylinder until the flow stopped. Approximately 2 parts by weight of CO&sub2; were used for each part by weight of soy flakes. The gas charging valve 33 was closed and the piston was gradually lowered using the hydraulic press. At the beginning of the downstroke, the piston was 5 inches from the bottom of the cylinder. When the piston was 1.75 inches from the bottom, the pressure in the cylinder was 12,000 psi. At this point the pressure release valve was opened to bleed the CO&sub2;-soybean oil off at a rate sufficient to maintain the pressure at 12,000 psi, while the piston was continuously lowered. When the piston was to 0.75 inches above the bottom, essentially all of the gas had been removed from the cylinder and the pressure on the hydraulic press rose to 30 tons without any further increase of extraction fluid pressure within the extraction vessel.

The piston was removed and the soybean flake residue recovered. The process, which consumed approximately 5 minutes, reduced the oil content of the soybean flakes from 17.6% to 3.7%, as determined by ether extraction.

The approximate dynamics of Example 5 are shown in Table I below.

EXAMPLE 6

The apparatus of Example 5 was charged with 100 grams of full fat, soy flakes, which included the hulls of the beans. The soy contained approximately 17% fat and 12% moisture. The soy flakes filled occupied the lower 3 inches of the cylinder.

The piston was inserted and the cylinder was purged with carbon dioxide. After purging, valve 36 was closed and the cylinder charged to 1,500 psi with CO&sub2;. Using an external pump, additional CO&sub2; was pumped into the cylinder until the pressure reached 12,000 psi. This provided 3 parts by weight of CO&sub2; for every one part by weight of soybean meal. The flakes were permitted to soak in the pressurized CO&sub2; for 20 minutes.

The temperature of the cylinder was heated to 51°C. and the pressure release valve was opened to bleed off the CO&sub2;-soybean oil at the bottom of the cylinder while additional CO&sub2; was pumped into the top of the cylinder at a rate sufficient to maintain the pressure at 12,000 psi. The pumping of the CO&sub2; at 12,000 psi was continued until 30 parts by weight of gas for each part by weight of soybean flakes had been passed through the soybean flakes. The CO&sub2; initially emerging from the cylinder was saturated with soybean oil, but as the process continued the amount of soybean oil in the gas declined. The piston was not lowered during this test. The CO&sub2; emerging at the end of the process contained essentially no oil. Analysis of the cake showed that it contained 2.62 retained oil (based on an ether extraction).

EXAMPLE 7

Using the apparatus described in Example 1, the cylinder was again loaded with 100 grams of full-fat soy flakes described in Example 6. The cylinder was purged using CO&sub2;, after which the cylinder was charged to 1,500 lbs. using CO&sub2;. An external pump was used to increase the CO&sub2; pressure to 12,000 psi which gave a weight ratio of 3 to 1 gas to meal. This again was allowed to soak for 20 minutes at 65°C.

After the soaking, the pressure release valve was opened to start to bleed out the CO&sub2;-soybean oil mixture while the piston was lowered to maintain the pressure at 12,000 psi. The process continued until the cake was compressed from the initial 3 inches to 1 inch.

The resulting cake contained 2.39% retained fat (based on an ether extract) and a moisture of about 13.42. This indicates little, if any, moisture was extracted, but only one-tenth the amount of gas was used as compared to Example 6.

EXAMPLE 8

Using the apparatus described in Example 1, 100 grams of soybean flakes, as described in Example 6, were charged into the cylinder.

The cylinder was purged with nitrogen at 2,800 psi and then the purge valve was closed and the nitrogen was charged to 2,800 psi. An external pump was used to pump additional nitrogen into the cylinder until the pressure reached 12,000 psi.

This was allowed to soak for 20 minutes at a temperature of 55-63°C. The pressure release valve was op     t  a   w the nitrogen-soybean oil to bleed out of the cylinder while the piston was lowered to maintain the pressure at 12,000 psi. No refrigeration affects were noticed by the release of the nitrogen. No oil was noted in the initial discharge of the nitrogen, while the ram was closed from 5 inches to about 2 inches. However, during the last 1 inch stroke of the piston, a great volume of oil was released with the nitrogen.

Analysis of the soybean flake cake retained in the cylinder showed 2.36% retained oil with a moisture content of 13.07.

The soybean meal recovered from the cylinder has a specific gravity of about 1.1 which is approximately the same as the specific gravity of CO&sub2; at 12,000 psi.

EXAMPLE 9

An extraction procedure was carried out in the same manner as in Example 8, except that Argon gas was used in place of nitrogen. The retained soybean cake contained 9.61% retained fat and a moisture of 13.37%. This indicates Argon did not have the same affect as nitrogen with respect to the extraction of oil from soybean flakes.

EXAMPLE 10

The apparatus of Example 1 was charged with 33 grams of raw wheat germ meal. The meal contained approximately 9% by weight of fat and about 13% by weight of moisture.

Using the procedure of Example 7, the cylinder was purged with 1,500 psi CO&sub2;. The purge valve was closed and the CO&sub2; was admitted until 1,500 psi was reached. CO&sub2; was then continuously added by an external pump until 12,000 psi was reached. This provided 11 parts by weight of gas to each part by weight of meal. The temperature was maintained at 66°C.

After a dwell time of about 1.5 minutes, the discharge valve was opened and the piston was lowered to hold the pressure at 12,000 psi.

The discharge of the CO&sub2;-oil required about 3-1/2 minutes to complete. The wheat germ cake was recovered and analyzed to show it retained about 0.74% of the fat (based on ether extract).

EXAMPLE 11

The apparatus of Example 1 was charged with 100 grams of wheat germ meal in the manner of Example 10. The cylinder was pressurized with CO&sub2; to 12,000 psi. The pressure release valve was opened and the CO&sub2; gas with the entrained wheat germ oil was allowed to bleed off until the pressure in the cylinder reached 4,000 psi. This required about 24 seconds. The piston was then lowered, maintaining the pressure at 4,000 psi.

The wheat germ cake was recovered and analyzed. It contained 1.94% of retained fat.

EXAMPLE 12

Another extraction was run in the manner of Example 10, wherein 33 grams of wheat germ were charged into the cylinder which was then charged to 12,000 psi with carbon dioxide. This gave a ratio of 11 parts of gas by weight to 1 part of wheat germ by weight. After soaking for 5 minutes, the CO&sub2; was allowed to bleed off while maintaining the temperature at 46°C. The bleeding was allowed to reduce the cylinder to 1,500 psi. Thereafter, the cake was flushed with CO&sub2; for 5 minutes using 1,500 psi CO&sub2;.

The cake was recovered. Analysis indicated the cake had 6.19% retained fat.

EXAMPLES 13 - 16

Examples 13 through 16 were carried out in apparatus illustrated by FIGURE 1 and described in Example 1. In each case, 100 grams of wheat germ containing 10.5% fat was placed in the cylinder and moistened with the co-solvent shown in Table II below. In Examples 13 through 15, carbon dioxide was then charged to 950 psi and the piston was lowered to achieve a pressure of 4,000 psi. Mass transfer separation of the CO&sub2;, co-solvent, and dissolved oil from the solids was carried out at 4,000 psi. The retained fat of the solids cake is also shown.

In Example 16 no carbon dioxide was used, but the cake was compacted to 12,000 psi in the presence of the isopropanol.

It is estimated that the extraction of wheat germ using the above amounts of isopropanol or hexane without carbon dioxide and without high pressure would produce a cake having 6-8% retained fat.

The results of Examples 13 through 17 are shown in Table II.

EXAMPLE 17

The apparatus described in Example 1 was charged with 100 grams of crushed, whole rapeseed, including some hull fragments. The charged solids contained 42.6% oil, by weight.

Carbon dioxide was charged to the system to 11,000 psi at a temperature of 55°C. This gave a ratio of 3 parts by weight of carbon dioxide for each part by weight of seed. Following the procedure of Example 3, the piston was lowered and the carbon dioxide-rapeseed oil mixture was discharged. The rapeseed oil was recovered.

The resulting cake, in two similar experiments, contained 7.57% and 9.86% retained oil by weight, based on ether extract. This indicates that about 85% to 90% of the oil was extracted from the seed.


Anspruch[de]
  1. Verfahren zur Extraktion von lösbaren Stoffen aus einem zu extrahierenden Material, welches Verfahren umfasst:
    • Kontaktieren des zu extrahierenden Materials mit einem Extraktionsfluid unter erhöhtem Druck innerhalb eines definierten Raums;
    • Bilden einer flüssigen Mischung dieses Extraktionsfluids und dieses Extrakts aus diesem zu extrahierenden Material in diesem definierten Raum;
    • Entladen dieser flüssigen Mischung als Masse aus diesem definierten Raum zu einer Umgebung von niedrigerem Druck hin; und
    • mechanisches Aufrechterhalten dieses erhöhten Drucks in diesem definierten Raum während des Entladens dieser flüssigen Mischung durch gleichzeitiges Reduzieren des Volumens dieses definierten Raums mit einer Geschwindigkeit, die zum Aufrechterhalten des erhöhten Drucks genügt, während die flüssige Mischung aus diesem defi nierten Raum entladen wird.
  2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, bei welchem unlösliche Komponenten dieses zu extrahierenden Materials verdichtet werden, während das Volumen dieses definierten Raums reduziert wird.
  3. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, bei welchem dieses Extraktionsfluid bei der Temperatur des Trennschrittes und bei Luftdruck gasförmig ist.
  4. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, bei welchem dieses Extraktionsfluid eine Mischung von Lösungsmitteln ist, von denen bei der Temperatur des Trennschrittes und bei Luftdruck das eine flüssig und das andere gasförmig ist.
  5. Verfahren nach Anspruch 3 oder 4, bei welchem dieses Extraktionsfluid Kohlendioxid, Stickstoff oder Argon ist.
  6. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, bei welchem diese lösbaren Stoffe Flüssigkeiten sind und dieses Extraktionsfluid ein Lösungsmittel für diese Flüssigkeiten bei der Temperatur und dem Druck des Kontaktierungsschritts umfasst.
  7. Verfahren nach Anspruch 6, umfassend die zusätzlichen Schritte des Trennens dieses Extraktionsfluids von diesen Flüssigkeiten, des Wiedergewinnens der getrennten Flüssigkeiten, und des Rezyklierens des getrennten Extraktionsfluids.
  8. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, bei welchem dieses zu extrahierende Material ein Lipide enthaltender Pflanzensamen ist.
  9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, bei welchem dieser Lipide enthaltende Pflanzensamen Sojabohne, Weizenkeim oder Rapssamen ist.
  10. Vorrichtung zur Durchführung des Verfahrens nach Anspruch 1, welche Vorrichtung umfasst:
    • ein Extraktionsgefäss zum Umschliessen eines zu extrahierenden Feststoffmaterials innerhalb eines definierten Raums;
    • Mittel zum Laden dieses Feststoffmaterials in diesen definierten Raum;
    • Mittel zum Laden von Extraktionsfluid in diesen definierten Raum;
    • Mittel zum Erzeugen eines erhöhten Drucks innerhalb dieses definierten Raums;
    • Mittel zum Kontaktieren dieses umschlossenen Feststoffmaterials mit einem Extraktionsfluid zum Bilden einer flüssigen Mischung von löslichen Stoffen in Extraktionsfluid und Extrakt;
    • Trennmittel zum Trennen dieser flüssigen Mischung von diesem umschlossenen Feststoffmaterial durch Entladen dieser flüssigen Mischung aus diesem definierten Raum und gleichzeitiges Reduzieren des Volumens dieses definierten Raums mit einer Geschwindigkeit, die zum Aufrechterhalten des erhöhten Drucks genügt, während die flüssige Mischung aus diesem definierten Raum entladen wird, wobei
      • diese Trennmittel ein poröses Medium und Steuermittel zum Aufrechterhalten eines bestimmten Druckwerts innerhalb dieses definierten Raums umfassen,
      • dieses poröse Medium in flüssigem Kontakt mit diesem definierten Raum steht und so ausgebildet ist, dass es den Durchgang dieser flüssigen Mischung, aber nicht von Feststoffen aus diesem definierten Raum erlaubt, und
      • diese Steuermittel zur Steuerung der Durchflussgeschwindigkeit dieser flüssigen Mischung durch dieses poröse Medium und dadurch zum Aufrechterhalten des bestimmten Druckwerts innerhalb dieses definierten Raums, während die flüssige Mischung aus diesem definierten Raum entfernt wird, ausgebildet sind.
  11. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 10, bei welchem dieser bestimmte Druckwert mindestens 103 bar (1,500 psi) und vorzugsweise mindestens 275 bar (4,000 psi) beträgt.
  12. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 10, umfassend Mittel zum Laden dieses Feststoffmaterials in diesen definierten Raum, bevor dieses Extraktionsfluid in diesen definierten Raum geladen wird.
  13. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 10, weiter umfassend Mittel zum mechanischen Verdichten dieses Feststoffmaterials, wenn dieses Extraktionsfluid und diese Flüssigkeiten getrennt werden.
  14. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 10, bei welcher diese Mittel zum Trennen dieses Extraktionsfluids und Extrakts von diesem zu extrahierenden Material zum Entladen dieses Extraktionsfluids und Extrakts zu einer Umgebung von niedrigerem Druck hin ausgebildet sind.
  15. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 14, weiter umfassend Mittel zum mechanischen Verdichten dieses Feststoffmaterials, wenn dieses Extraktionsfluid und diese Flüssigkeiten entladen werden.
  16. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 14, weiter umfassend Mittel zum Trennen dieses Extraktionsfluids von diesen Flüssigkeiten, zum Wiedergewinnen der getrennten Flüssigkeiten, und zum Rezyklieren des getrennten Extraktionsfluids.
  17. Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 10 bis 16, bei welcher das Extraktionsgefäss einen dickwandigen Zylinder mit einem geschlossenen Ende umfasst, und sowohl die Mittel zum Erzeugen eines erhöhten Drucks innerhalb dieses definierten Raums wie auch die Mittel zum Reduzieren des Volumens dieses definierten Raums einen Kolben umfassen, der zum gesteuerten Bewegen hin und her in diesem Zylinder angeordnet ist, um diesen definierten Raum als Kammer von variablem Volumen bereitzustellen. (Fig. 1)
  18. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 17, bei welcher die Mittel zum Laden dieses Feststoffmaterials in diesen definierten Raum axial angeordnet sind.
  19. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 17, bei welcher die Mittel zum Laden von Extraktionsfluid in diesen definierten Raum axial angeordnet sind.
  20. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 17, bei welcher die Mittel zum Entladen dieses Extraktionsfluids und Extrakts axial angeordnet sind.
  21. Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 10 bis 16, bei welcher
    • das Extraktionsgefäss eine Schraubenpresse ist,
    • die Mittel zum Laden dieses Feststoffmaterials in diesen definierten Raum einen Eingangsabschnitt der Schraubenpresse umfassen, der zum Aufnehmen dieses Feststoffmate rials und zum Bilden eines Pfropfens davon ausgebildet ist, wobei dieser Pfropfen eine Struktur hat, die genügt, um den Extraktionsdruck auszuhalten,
    • die Mittel zum Laden von Extraktionsfluid in diesen definierten Raum einen Abschnitt der Schraubenpresse zum Einspritzen von Extraktionsfluid umfassen, der zum Einspritzen von wirksamen Mengen von Extraktionsfluid unter erhöhtem Druck ausgebildet ist, wobei dieses Extraktionsfluid dieses zu extrahierende Material kontaktiert und eine flüssige Mischung von Extraktionsfluid und Extrakt gebildet wird, und
    • die Mittel zum Entladen dieses Extraktionsfluids und Extrakts umfassen:
      • einen Abschnitt zum Entladen von Extrakt, der mit Mitteln zum Entladen dieser flüssigen Mischung aus dieser Schraubenpresse am Umfang dieser Schraube versehen ist, wobei dieser Abschnitt zum Entladen von Extrakt ausgebildet ist zum Aufrechterhalten von erhöhtem Druck innerhalb der Schraubenpresse, und
      • einen Abschnitt zum Entladen von Feststoffen, der ausgebildet ist zur Bildung eines Pfropfens von extrahiertem Feststoffmaterial, der zum Aushalten der Extraktionsdruckwerte genügt, und zum Entladen der extrahierten Feststoffe mit einer gesteuerten Geschwindigkeit. (Fig. 2)
  22. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 21, bei welcher dieser Abschnitt zum Entladen von Extrakt ausgebildet ist zum mechanischen Verdichten des zu extrahierenden Materials, wenn die Flüssigkeiten entladen werden.
  23. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 21, bei welcher dieser Abschnitt zum Einspritzen von Extraktionsfluid ausgebildet ist zum Einspritzen des Extraktionsfluids axial von der Nabe der Schraube aus.
  24. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 21, bei welcher dieser Abschnitt zum Einspritzen von Extraktionsfluid ausgebildet ist zum Einspritzen des Extraktionsfluids am Umfang und vom Rohr der Schraubenpresse aus.
  25. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 21, umfassend Mittel zum Mischen des Extraktionsfluids mit dem zu extrahierenden Material, bevor dieses Extraktionsfluid und dieses Feststoffmaterial in diesen definierten Raum geladen werden.
  26. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 21, bei welcher dieser Abschnitt zum Einspritzen von Extraktionsfluid ausgebildet ist zum Verdichten des Extraktionsfluids auf den bestimmten Betriebsdruck in Gegenwart des zu extrahierenden Materials.
Anspruch[en]
  1. A method of extracting soluble materials from a material to be extracted, which method comprises:
    • contacting the material to be extracted with an extracting fluid at an elevated pressure within a defined space;
    • forming a fluid mixture of said extracting fluid and extract from said material to be extracted in said defined space;
    • discharging said fluid mixture as a mass from said defined space to an environment of lower pressure; and
    • mechanically maintaining said elevated pressure in said defined space as said fluid mixture is discharged by simultaneously reducing the volume of said defined space at a rate sufficient to maintain the elevated pressure as the fluid mixture is discharged from said defined space.
  2. A method according to claim 1, wherein insoluble components of said material to be extracted are compacted as the volume of said defined space is reduced.
  3. A method according to claim 1, wherein said extracting fluid is gaseous at the temperature of the separating step and atmospheric pressure.
  4. A method according to claim 1, wherein said extracting fluid is a mixture of solvents, one of which is liquid while the other is gaseous at the temperature of the separating step and atmospheric pressure.
  5. A method according to claim 3 or 4, wherein said extracting fluid is carbon dioxide, nitrogen or argon.
  6. A method according to claim 1, wherein said soluble materials are liquids and said extracting fluid comprises a solvent for said liquids at the temperature and pressure of the contacting step.
  7. A method according to claim 6, comprising the additional steps of separating said extracting fluid from said liquids, recovering the separated liquids and recycling the separated extracting fluid.
  8. A method according to claim 1, wherein said material to be extracted is a lipid bearing vegetable seed.
  9. A method according to claim 8, wherein said lipid bearing vegetable seed is soy bean, wheat germ or rape seed.
  10. An apparatus for performing the method of claim 1, which apparatus comprises:
    • an extraction vessel adapted to confine a solid material to be extracted within a defined space;
    • means to charge said solid material into said defined space;
    • means to charge extracting fluid into said defined space;
    • means to achieve an elevated pressure within said defined space;
    • means to contact said confined solid material with an extracting fluid to form a fluid mixture of solubles in extracting fluid and extract;
    • separation means to separate said fluid mixture from said confined solid material by discharging said fluid mixture from said defined space and simultaneously reducing the volume of said defined space at a rate sufficient to maintain the elevated pressure as the fluid mixture is discharged from said defined space,
      • said separation means comprising a porous media and control means to maintain a selected pressure level within said defined space;
      • said porous media being in fluid contact with said defined space and constructed to allow passage of said fluid mixture, but not solids, from said defined space; and
      • said control means being adapted to control the rate of flow of said fluid mixture through said porous media and thereby maintain the selected pressure level within said defined space as fluid mixture is removed from said defined space.
  11. An apparatus according to claim 10, wherein said selected pressure level is at least 103 bar (1,500 psi) and preferably at least 275 bar (4,000 psi).
  12. An apparatus according to claim 10, which includes means to charge said solid material into said defined space before said extracting fluid is charged into said defined space.
  13. An apparatus according to claim 10, which further comprises means to mechanically compact said solid material as said extracting fluid and said liquids are separated.
  14. An apparatus according to claim 10, wherein said means to separate said extracting fluid and extract from said material to be extracted are adapted to discharge said extracting fluid and extract to an environment of lower pressure.
  15. An apparatus according to claim 14, which further comprises means to mechanically compact said solid material as said extracting fluid and said liquids are discharged.
  16. An apparatus according to claim 14, which further comprises means to separate said extracting fluid from said liquids, recovering the separated liquids and recycling the separated extracting fluid.
  17. An apparatus according to one of claims 10 to 16, in which the extraction vessel is comprised of a thick-walled cylinder having one closed end and both the means to achieve an elevated pressure within said defined space and the means to reduce the volume of said defined space are comprised of a piston disposed for controllable reciprocal movement in said cylinder to provide said defined space as a variable volume chamber. (Fig. 1)
  18. An apparatus according to claim 17, wherein the means to charge said solid material into said defined space is axially disposed.
  19. An apparatus according to claim 17, wherein the means to charge extracting fluid into said defined space is axially disposed.
  20. An apparatus according to claim 17, wherein the means to discharge said extracting fluid and extract is axially disposed.
  21. An apparatus according to one of claims 10 to 16, in which
    • the extraction vessel is a screw press;
    • the means to charge said solid material into said defined space is comprised of an input section of the screw press adapted to receive said solid material and form a plug thereof, said plug having sufficient structure to sustain the extraction pressures;
    • the means to charge extracting fluid into said defined space is comprised of an extracting fluid injection section of the screw press adapted to inject effective quantities of extracting fluid at elevated pressure, whereby said extracting fluid contacts said material to be extracted and a fluid mixture is formed of extracting fluid and extract; and
    • the means to discharge said extracting fluid and extract is comprised of:
      • an extract discharge section provided with means to discharge said fluid mixture from said screw press at the periphery of said screw, said extract discharge section being adapted to maintain elevated pressure within the screw press; and
      • a solid discharge section adapted to form a plug of extracted solid material sufficient to withstand extraction pressures and adapted to discharge extracted solids at a controlled rate. (Fig. 2)
  22. An apparatus according to claim 21, wherein said extract discharge section is adapted to mechanically compact the material to be extracted as fluids are discharged.
  23. An apparatus according to claim 21, wherein said extracting fluid injection section is adapted to inject the extracting fluid axially from the screw hub.
  24. An apparatus according to claim 21, wherein said extracting fluid injection section is adapted to inject the extracting fluid peripherally from the barrel of the screw press.
  25. An apparatus according to claim 21, which includes means to mix the extracting fluid with the material to be extracted before said extracting fluid and said solid material are charged into said defined space.
  26. An apparatus according to claim 21, wherein said extracting fluid injection section is adapted to compact the extracting fluid to the selected operating pressure in the presence of the material to be extracted.
Anspruch[fr]
  1. Procédé d'extraction de matières solubles d'une matière à extraire, ce procédé comportant:
    • la mise en contact de la matière à extraire avec un fluide d'extraction à une pression élevée au sein d'un espace défini;
    • la formation d'un mélange fluide de ce fluide d'extraction et de cet extrait à partir de cette matière à extraire dans cet espace défini;
    • l'évacuation de ce mélange fluide en tant que masse à partir de cet espace défini vers un environnement de plus basse pression; et
    • le maintien par des moyens mécaniques de cette pression élevée dans cet espace défini pendant que ce mélange fluide est évacué avec réduction simultanée du volume de cet espace défini à une vitesse qui suffit à maintenir la pression élevée pendant que le mélange fluide est évacué à partir de cet espace défini.
  2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les composantes insolubles de cette matière à extraire sont comprimées pendant que le volume de cet espace défini est réduit.
  3. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ce fluide d'extraction est gazeux à la température de l'étape de séparation et à la pression atmosphérique.
  4. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ce fluide d'extraction est un mélange de solvants dont l'un est liquide et l'autre gazeux à la température de l'étape de séparation et à la pression atmosphérique.
  5. Procédé selon la revendication 3 ou 4, dans lequel ce fluide d'extraction est le dioxyde de carbone, l'azote ou l'argon.
  6. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ces matières solubles sont des liquides et ce fluide d'extraction comprend un solvant pour ces liquides à la température et à la pression de l'étape de mise en contact.
  7. Procédé selon la revendication 6, comportant les étapes additionnelles de séparation de ce fluide d'extraction à partir de ces liquides, de récupération des liquides séparés et de recyclage du fluide d'extraction séparé.
  8. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel cette matière à extraire est une graine végétale à teneur en lipides.
  9. Procédé selon la revendication 8, dans lequel cette graine végétale à teneur en lipides est le haricot soja, le germe de blé ou la graine de colza.
  10. Dispositif pour la mise en oeuvre du procédé de la revendication 1, lequel dispositif comporte:
    • un récipient d'extraction capable de confiner une matière à extraire solide au sein d'un espace défini;
    • des moyens pour charger cette matière solide dans cet espace défini;
    • des moyens pour charger du fluide d'extraction dans cet espace défini;
    • des moyens pour créer une pression élevée au sein de cet espace défini;
    • des moyens pour mettre en contact cette matière solide confinée avec un fluide d'extraction pour former un mélange fluide de composantes solubles dans le fluide d'extraction et d'extrait;
    • des moyens de séparation pour séparer ce mélange fluide de cette matière solide confinée par évacuation de ce mélange fluide à partir de cet espace défini avec réduction simultanée du volume de cet espace défini à une vitesse qui suffit à maintenir la pression élevée pendant que le mélange fluide est évacué à partir de cet espace défini,
      • ces moyens de séparation comprenant un milieu poreux et des moyens de commande pour maintenir un niveau de pression choisi au sein de cet espace défini;
      • ce milieu poreux étant en contact fluide avec cet espace défini et étant agencé de façon à permettre le passage de ce mélange fluide mais non de solides à partir de cet espace défini; et
      • ces moyens de commande étant capables de commander la vitesse d'écoulement de ce mélange fluide à travers ce milieu poreux et ainsi de maintenir le niveau de pression choisi au sein de cet espace défini pendant que du mélange fluide est retiré de cet espace défini.
  11. Dispositif selon la revendication 10, dans lequel ce niveau de pression choisi est d'au moins 103 bars (1,500 psi) et de préférence d'au moins 275 bars (4,000 psi).
  12. Dispositif selon la revendication 10, comportant des moyens pour charger cette matière solide dans cet espace défini avant que ce fluide d'extraction ne soit chargé dans cet espace défini.
  13. Dispositif selon la revendication 10, comportant en outre des moyens pour comprimer mécaniquement cette matière solide pendant que ce fluide d'extraction et ces liquides sont séparés.
  14. Dispositif selon la revendication 10, dans lequel ces moyens pour séparer ce fluide d'extraction et cet extrait à partir de cette matière à extraire sont capables de décharger ce fluide d'extraction et cet extrait vers un environnement à plus basse pression.
  15. Dispositif selon la revendication 14, comportant en outre des moyens pour comprimer mécaniquement cette matière solide pendant que ce fluide d'extraction et ces liquides sont séparés.
  16. Dispositif selon la revendication 14, comportant en outre des moyens de séparation de ce fluide d'extraction à partir de ces liquides, de récupération des liquides séparés et de recyclage du fluide d'extraction séparé.
  17. Dispositif selon l'une des revendications 10 à 16, dans lequel le récipient d'extraction comprend un cylindre à parois épaisses comportant une extrémité obturée, et les moyens pour créer une pression élevée au sein de cet espace défini ainsi que les moyens pour réduire le volume de cet espace défini comportent un piston disposé de façon à pouvoir exécuter un mouvement de va-et-vient commandé dans ce cylindre afin de mettre à disposition cet espace défini en tant que chambre à volume variable. (Fig. 1)
  18. Dispositif selon la revendication 17, dans lequel les moyens pour charger cette matière solide dans cet espace défini sont disposés axialement.
  19. Dispositif selon la revendication 17, dans lequel les moyens pour charger du fluide d'extraction dans cet espace défini sont disposés axialement.
  20. Dispositif selon la revendication 17, dans lequel les moyens pour décharger ce fluide d'extraction et cet extrait sont disposés axialement.
  21. Dispositif selon l'une des revendications 10 à 16, dans lequel
    • le récipient d'extraction est une presse à vis;
    • les moyens pour charger cette matière solide dans cet espace défini comportent une section d'entrée de la presse à vis capable de recevoir cette matière solide et de former avec celle-ci un bouchon ayant une structure qui suffit pour supporter les pressions d'extraction;
    • les moyens pour charger du fluide d'extraction dans cet espace défini comportent une section d'injection de fluide d'extraction de la presse à vis capable d'injecter des quantités efficaces de fluide d'extraction à une pression élevée, ce fluide d'extraction contactant cette matière à extraire et un mélange fluide de fluide d'extraction et d'extrait étant formé; et
    • les moyens pour décharger ce fluide d'extraction et cet extrait comportent :
      • une section de décharge d'extrait pourvue de moyens pour décharger ce mélange fluide à partir de cette presse à vis à la périphérie de cette vis, cette section de décharge d'extrait étant capable de maintenir une pression élevée au sein de la presse à vis; et
      • une section de décharge de solide capable de former un bouchon de matières solides extraites suffisant à résister aux pressions d'extraction et capable de décharger des solides extraits à une vitesse commandée. (Fig. 2)
  22. Dispositif selon la revendication 21, dans lequel cette section de décharge d'extrait est capable de comprimer mécaniquement la matière à extraire pendant que des fluides sont déchargés.
  23. Dispositif selon la revendication 21, dans lequel cette section d'injection de fluide d'extraction est capable d'injecter le fluide d'extraction axialement à partir du moyen de la vis.
  24. Dispositif selon la revendication 21, dans lequel cette section d'injection de fluide d'extraction est capable d'injecter le fluide d'extraction de façon périphérique à partir du tube de la presse à vis.
  25. Dispositif selon la revendication 21, comportant des moyens pour mélanger le fluide d'extraction avec la matière à extraire avant que ce fluide d'extraction et cette matière solide ne soient chargés dans cet espace défini.
  26. Dispositif selon la revendication 21, dans lequel cette section d'injection de fluide d'extraction est capable de comprimer le fluide d'extraction à la pression de fonctionnement choisie en présence de matière à extraire.






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