Crude glycerol, also referred to as glycerin, is defined as a very viscid liquid due to the presence of many impurities such as salts, heavy metals, alcohols and soaps and remains one of the most versatile and valuable known chemicals that has a wide variety of uses and applications. Distillation is the most commonly practiced method for purifying glycerin and the advantages of the distillation process are widely recognized. It is an established technology that produces high-purity glycerin with a high yield. However, with this distillation process, it has some short comings as it is also an energy-intensive process.
Various new techniques for purifying glycerol promise better quality with lower cost and new process technologies are required to fulfil this increasing worldwide demand. These processes include chemical pre-treatment, methanol removal, vacuum distillation, ion exchange, adsorption, solvent extraction and membrane separation technology to mention a few.
Artisan Industries’ Rototherm® thin-film evaporator’s glycerin purification technology offers significant advantages over other glycerin purification systems in that it also provides the option to refine your crude glycerin to increase your revenue stream. The Rototherm® thin-film evaporator’s robust design maintains concentricity of the rotor with the process shells, which allows for an accurate control of the film thickness. The rotor also incorporates a rugged shaft-trunnion design, which is crucial for combating fatigue and extending rotor life to match the life cycle of the equipment without repair. In addition, there is no use of steam sparge, which reduces energy consumption. No chemical treatments are required, which minimizes waste disposal. Their process reduces the need for additional equipment with a 10:1 turndown capability. Artisan’s purification systems – single stage, two stage and their rectification column – can produce higher yields in a single pass with a wider variety of glycerin crudes allowing for less downtime in cleaning.