Layer esterification

Layer esterification is a process which converts free fatty acids to glycerides with re-bonding using glycerin, which is consumed in hydrolysis. This process modifies the fats without using any catalyst and removes the water formed in the reaction without affecting the triglyceride presence in the oil. The process can convert any level of free fatty acids in the oil (1% to 95%) to level of less than 0.1 % needed to serve as feedstock to bio-diesel.


Layer esterification is a continuous process. The bleached oil with any level of FFA is taken into a Layer Esterifier and the required quantity of glycerin is added. Next the oil is made to continuously flow to the Deodorizer. Without any catalyst the FFA will get converted into glycerides and its weight will increase by 40%, which is the weight of glycerin added. The glycerin escaping will be controlled and re-fed to the Layer Esterifier by installing a condenser system. Any traces of fatty acid escaping from the Layer esterification are trapped and continuously fed back to the same Layer Esterifier.

MECPRO has applied for a patent for this innovative process technology, which is the first of its kind in the world due to the following:

  • Improved yields, lower operating expenses, reduced environmental impact, excellent oil quality and enhanced performance.
  • This revolutionary process technology can be easily added on to any existing refinery, thus ensuring unmatched performance with seamless installation and operational ease.
  • The Free Fatty Acids in the oil refining process react with Glycerin, without adding any catalyst, which converts them into glycerides.
  • Layer Esterification is performed as part of the refining process without removing the Fatty Acids from the process stream.
  • In our online continuous glycerolization process, the crude oil with Free Fatty Acid is passed through the refining process as usual until the Bleacher stage and thereafter it is fed to Layer Converter for glycerolizing before being fed to the Deodorizer.
  • This rebonding process converts Free Fatty Acids into glycerides, which are then fed to the Deodorizer for further processing.
  • Layer Esterification process will re-bond the glycerol bonds back to the Free Fatty Acid and convert it to glycerides during the condensation process.

There is negligible utility consumption, since the temperature of the layer of ester is maintained constant to change the normally endothermic reaction to an exothermic reaction. So the heat is absorbed and converted to sensible heat, and the superheated water temperature will diminish at the top of the ester layer.