Palm oil can be extracted from either the kernel or the fruits of the tree and are used in the production of a variety of products. These products made from palm oil are available in many countries and can be used in place of the oil, in case it is not available in its raw form. The extraction of crude palm oil involves a process that can either be done on the fruit to produce the oil or on the palm kernels. Either of these two options produces palm oil that can be used for a variety of activities provided it was extracted and processed effectively.
Extraction of crude palm oil from its fruit is common and it involves a process that may be simple or complicated depending on the amount of oil that is needed. Initially, there is preparation that is done which involves the collecting of the fruits that are found on palm trees, which are then pressed until the oil is produced. Oil from palm tree fruits have a high percentage of carotene and have an appearance of oil that is dark red in color. This color is quickly lost when the oil is subjected to heating while being processed which results in palm oil that is pale and creamy. On the other hand, this process of extraction can be done on a larger scale as well which involve processes and machinery that are not as simple as those that are used by small scale extractors.
Palm kernels are also another source through which palm oil can be extracted and is produced by larger industries as well. Extraction of crude palm oil from the kernels is processed similarly to that which is done for other seeds that produce a variety of oils as well. The process may take place in mills and involves the grinding of the kernels to the point at which they become small particles. The next process is the heating of the grounded kernels and then the oil is produced through the use of a chemical solvent or sometimes an expeller. The amount of crude palm oil extracted depends on the amount of kernels used and the machines that are involved in the process.
Most times crude palm oil is not used in its raw form and is refined so that it can be available for variety of uses depending on the needs of the inhabitants of the area. The most common process of refining the palm oil is through the process of distillation that is able to separate its components so that they can be used to make other products as well. Within the refining process of the palm oil in its raw form there other processes such as bleaching, deodorization and fraction among others to bring it to its most purified state. This purified from of palm oil can be used for cooking, cosmetics production, various industrial processes and as part of processed foods used on a regular basis.
Next article will talk about the waste palm oil degumming.