Process intensification of lemon grass oil in a pilot plant
The extraction of essential oil from lemon-grass was carried out using steam distillation in a locally designed and fabricated pilot plant of 100 kg/day capacity. The extraction pattern and economic analysis of the oil extracted were monitored over time. The extraction revealed that 0.414 litres of oil was produced in a day of five batches with a total production cycle per batch of 1.61 hours. The study further revealed that 94.3% of the oil was extracted in 60 minutes. The GCMS result shows the major components in the extracted Lemon grass oil were Oleic acid, Neral and Citral with percentage composition of 25.69%, 19.32% and 15.38% respectively. These percent compositions compare favourably with literature values. The properties of the Lemon grass oil were found to be: specific gravity, 0.8952; iodine value, 120.7g/g; saponification value, 201.3 mgKOH/g and cetane number, 43.7. The economic analysis on a monthly basis revealed a production cost (direct and indirect) of N160,050.00K and the expected net profit of N378,150.00K.
Keywords: Essential Oil, Lemon Grass, Extraction, Pilot Plant and Process Intensification