Design and economic analysis of a maleated soybean oil and ester production facility
Many industrial applications for soybean oil have been developed, such as, drying oils for paints, epoxidized soybean oil for plastics, and stabilizers for synthetic resins. Unfortunately, in the past 30 years the market for drying oils has decreased and the use of epoxidized soybean oil has plateaued in the industry. Concurrently, environmental and life cycle considerations have excited interest in annually renewable feedstocks. The significance of the study was to investigate the reaction rate, processability, and characteristics of maleated soy products. Knowledge gained from laboratory experiments were applied to the design of a manufacturing process to produce maleated soy products. A maleated soy ester was produced in the laboratory and was found to be a good plasticizer for PVC. Two process designs were studied, continuous and batch, as possible routes to produce maleated soybean oil and the esterification of the oil. The continuous process was found to be superior to the batch by two methods of analysis, return on initial investment and internal rate of return.