Designing new olive oil procedure with zero waste
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Olive oil mills wastewater is a big problem in the countries that produce olive oil. There are so many treatment procedures about OMW ( Olive Mill Wastewater) but none of them treat it 100% environmentally friendly. At my Ph.D. I have designed a procedure where produce 0 wastewater in laboratory scale. The problem is that European Union sponsors those who produce OMW to treat them and so the procedure I have to design is not business profitable yet because there is not in pilot scale. I want to solve the big problem of OMW from Mediterranean area and change the way olive oil produce to better.
The main problem with both three-phase and two-phase mill waste is its large organic load and its high concentration of phenolic. Our first objective was to characterize the olive fruit’s organic, inorganic and water loads in order to understand better the source of the organic and phenolic loads which would try to isolate later on. The first step was to identify the source of the organic load and managed it in a way to be isolated from this process, even before the production of olive oil. The second big problem of waste waters is the phenolic substances. The two-phase olive oil production process theoretically could be a process with zero waste if the solid waste could be used as animal feed. This think cannot be done because of the organic load and phenolic load. Here appears the second major objective of this study, to the optimal extraction of phenolic from the path of the olives before they even started the production of olive oil production. Finally, after two extensive parametric studies, we designed a flowchart of a plan for the production of olive oil with zero waste. In this new process, the first step is the export of the kernel from olives. This why the first parametric study showed that this is a source of the bigger bulk of the organic load of waste. The second step is the extraction of water-soluble phenolic from the path. The process ends with the export of olive oil from the olive fruit in an existing classic two-phase production unit of olive oil. It is important to mention that due to a few olives and the restriction on mechanical equipment did not become a research for the quality of the new olive oil. It is assumed that the process designed will be functional for the reason that does not differ at all from the olive oil production process 2 phases, disregarding the removal of the kernel.
To enable this work to take flesh and bones more needs to be done. First, we have to make experiments in different olive varieties, with different ripening conditions to specify the most suitable conditions for the receipt of phenolic compounds and the quality of olive oil. Yet equally important is to make the full costing as much as the mechanical equipment as well as energy requirements to substantiate whether the process is cost-effective to implement.
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