Published October 1968
This report is an evaluation of selected processes for the production of higher fatty acids. Of particular interest are the linear saturated fatty acids having 7 to 18 carbon atoms, as well as some higher unsaturated acids.
While higher fatty acids have been produced for many years from natural vegetable and animal raw materials, there has been recent interest in synthetic routes to these acids. However, most of the activity in synthetic fatty acid technology has been in the Soviet Union and other European countries where there is a shortage of natural fats and oils.
This report compares the existing processes for fatty acid from natural sources and the most promising and highly developed process for synthetic fatty acids, the paraffin oxidation process. Specifically, the processes evaluated are:
- Fatty acids from tallow
- Fatty acids from coconut oil
- Fatty acids from tall oil
- Fatty acids by paraffin oxidation
Stearic and oleic acids are produced from tallow. Coconut oil yields a range of fatty acids having C8-C18 carbons. Tall oil fatty acids are mostly oleic and linoleic acids. The paraffin oxidation process produces a wide range of fatty acids from formic to arachidic (C20). Each process is evaluated on a capacity of approximately 60 million lb/yr of C7-C18 fatty acids; in the tallow and tall oil processes, the entire range is not present in the finished product, because not all the acids in this range are contained in the feed. The paraffin oxidation process, however, has a total fatty acid capacity of considerably more than 60 million lb/yr
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