Hexane solvent oil extraction - Definition, Glossary, Details - OilgaeSolvent Extraction is a process which involves extracting oil from oil-bearing materials by treating it with a low boiler solvent as opposed to extracting the oils by mechanical pressing methods (such as expellers, hydraulic presses, etc.) The solvent extraction method recovers almost all the oils and leaves behind only 0.5% to 0.7% residual oil in the raw material. In the case of mechanical pressing the residual oil left in the oil cake may be anywhere from 6% to 14%.
The solvent extraction method can be applied directly to any low oil content raw materials. It can also be used to extract pre-pressed oil cakes obtained from high oil content materials. Because of the high percentage of recovered oil, solvent extraction has become the most popular method of extraction of oils and fats. In a nutshell, the extraction process consists of treating the raw material with hexane and recovering the oil by distillation of the resulting solution of oil in hexane called miscella. Evaporation and condensation from the distillation of miscella recovers the hexane absorbed in the material. The hexane thus recovered is reused for extraction. The low boiling point of hexane (67°C / 152°F) and the high solubility of oils and fats in it are the properties exploited in the solvent extraction process