Clariant is a Swiss specialty chemicals company which was formed in 1995 as a spin off from Sandoz.

The company is headquartered in Muttenz with a corporate center in Pratteln, both near Basel, Switzerland. Clariant manufactures a range of specialty chemicals based on seven core Business Units: Additives, Catalysts, Functional Minerals, Industrial & Consumer Specialties, Masterbatches, Oil & Mining Services and Pigments.

The company expanded by the incorporation of the specialty chemicals business of Hoechst (Germany) in 1997 and the acquisition of British Tar Products (BTP plc) in 2000. In 2011, Clariant acquired German specialty chemical company Sd-Chemie.

Clariant is represented in 76 different countries with more than 100 companies worldwide. Headquarter for Spain and Portugal is located in El Prat de Llobregat with 4 Production Sites: Tarragona, Sant Andreu de la Barca, Yuncos and Arziniega.

Esterification of olive fatty acids with glycerin

Fatty acids obtained from olive oil refineries are object of growing interest, not only as a raw material for biodiesel production, but also because they contain valuable components such sterols, vitamin A, squalene... The isolation process of those substances begins with an esterification of the free fatty acids.

The objective of the project is to study the esterification reaction conducted in a batch reactor (stirred tank) looking for the best process conditions (temperature, pressure and catalyst) to avoid degradation of those substances. As the process is not implemented yet, process simulation comparing the performance between batch and loop reactor will help to make the final decision.

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Javier Hernandez