Hydrogenation of Edible Oils
The hydrogenation of triglyceride oils is a heterogeneously catalyzed reaction that is induced commercially in three-phase reactors. The three phases are oil, hydrogen gas, and solid, porous, Ni catalyst particles. In edible oil hydrogenation it is important that a high quality product be obtained within a reasonable time. In practice this means an acceptable rate of the hydrogenation reaction, appropriate selectivity of the chemical reactions, and adequate ease of removal of the catalyst from the oil by filtration. In edible oil hydrogenation processes the feedstock is heated under vacuum to a specific temperature at which the hydrogen is introduced into the reactor. The main features of edible oil hydrogenation catalysts are the mean particle size and the particle size distribution, the mean pore size and the pore size distribution, and the specific nickel surface area. The quality of the hydrogenation catalysts has been improved over the past decade.