Previous PageNext Page

CETIOM's Oil Mill Pilot Plant

Pierre Burghart, Jacques Evrard

CETIOM, rue Monge, Parc Industriel, 33600 Pessac, France


CETIOM is the agricultural development and research institute for french oilseeds producers. Since 1980, it operates an oil mill pilot plant, located in the South-West of France, close to Bordeaux. The plant is fitted to process small batches of seeds, from some hundred kilograms to about ten tons, by pressing and hexane extraction. So, it is particularly convenient to provide processing backing to development programs of new oilcrops. It have been engaged in numerous domestic and european R&D programmes on oil and meal development for food and non food uses. Numerous oilseeds have been processed in the pilot plant, under public or private programs.

In 1998, the plant was revamping, to improve its potentialities, under grant-aided EC program (European Funds for Regional Development).

Keywords : outlets, process, feed, food, non-food


The CETIOM's oil mill pilot plant, located in Pessac near Bordeaux, was established in 1980.

The pilot basic mission is to help to improve competitiveness of oilcrops by exploring new feed, food and non-food uses for oilseeds and developing or improving new processing techniques.

The programs mainly focus on :

  • Process improvement and and new equipment evaluations,
  • Seed and meal assessment for animal feeding,
  • Identification of potential markets for new seeds from classical breeding and biotechnology
  • Evaluation of new raw materials
  • Industrial crop expertise

The pilot plant can handle experimental lots (different range of size) without cross-contamination between lots, making it attractive particularly to plant breeders, grain processors, ingredient suppliers and other private and public sector researchers.

After a first modernization in 1989, the plant was revamped in 1998, under EC grants, for developing broader missions.

The modifications include notably the setting up of :

  • a continuous De Smet belt extractor (throughput : 300 kg/h),
  • a stainless steel flash distillation, specially designed to process `sensitive' oils,
  • an ethanol extraction plant designed for protein concentrates manufacturing,
  • a CLEXTRAL prototype of extruder cooker fitted with a draining barrel, designed to recover oil from seeds in a single operation.

The certification of the pilot plant according ISO 9002 is under way.

Pilot Plant Description

The CETIOM's oil mill pilot plant is well equipped to reproduce the main process options of industrial oil plants. This one is designed for setting up and developing new equipments put at our disposal by industrial partners.

It is composed of six plants including the following facilities

1 - Seed preparation :

Drying, cleaning/sorting, dehulling are performed in this area. Traditionnally applied to rapeseed and sunflower, dehulling system can be adapted to a great variety of seeds.

2 - De-oiling by pressing :

The de-oiling by pressing includes the following unit processes : cracking and/or seed flaking, cooking (up to 130°C), continuous pressing, from 150 to 400 kg/h throughput of seeds, centrifugation and/or oil filtration, nitrogen blanketing. From the press exit, the oil is processed in stainless steel devices.The press shaft may be heated or cooled, by steam or cold water circulation.

3 - De-oiling in a cooker extruder with draining barrel

It is a twin screw extruder prototype, from CLEXTRAL company, fitted with a de-oiler barrel. The unit processes of the traditional pressing, which are flaking, cooking and pressing are made by this single machine, in a time which does'nt exceed 3 minutes. The machine can be heated by heating bands, or cooled by water circulation in sleeves.

4 - Hexane extracting :

The hexane extraction plant is a state-of-the-art processing facility, entirely made of stainless steel, designed for two extraction systems. One processes batches from 50 to 60 kg of solid marerial, the other is continuous, from 100 to 300 kg/h throughput. In both cases, the miscella distillation is made in a facility specially designed to work at low temperature (80°C).

The extraction area is secure mainly by a spark-proof electrical material and a system continually monotoring the working environment for the presence or level of escaped solvent.

4.1 - Batch extraction (agitated filter from GUEDU Company)

It is a 450 l tank closed in its bottom part by a filter, and fitted with a stirrer. The solid - usually a powder - is deoiled by successive washing by immersion and stirring in hexane. Between two washings, the miscella is drained off by filtration. The de-oiled solid is desolventized by heating and/or vacuum in the same device.

4.2 - Continuous extraction (Belt extractor from De Smet Company)

It is a continuous solid liquid extractor, by hexane countercurrent on a belt. Its throughput varies from 100 to 300 kg/h of solid according to the processed material. It is fitted with a 6 trays meal desolventizer, Schumacher type, with live steam injection in the first tray.

4.3 - Continuous distillation (from De Smet Company)

This facility have been specially designed to process reactive oils without damages.

It is a 3 stages distillation under 3 increasing levels of vacuum (400 mbar, 133 mbar, 67 mbar)

Belt extractor and schumacher desolventizer from De Smet Company

5 - Ethanol Extraction :

The ethanol extraction plant is designed for protein concentrate processing, by carbohydrates extraction from the raw material. The extraction is achieved on a continuous counter current belt filter, from Philippe Company. The concentrate is dryed on a fluidized air dryer (from Comessa Company).

The distillation is achieved on the hexane facility completed with a rectification column. The throughput is 30 kg/h of raw material.

This facility may be used for any type of ethanol extraction.

6 - Oil Refining :

The unit processes of degumming, neutralization, bleaching, winterization and deodorization are achieved in glass reactors, by batches of 15 kg of oil.


Jacques Evrard (e.mail :
Pierre Burghart (e.mail :
Tel. 33 (0)5 56 07 30 84 - Fax. 33 (0)5 57 26 94 74

Previous PageTop Of PageNext Page