The spent cake from olive oil filtration as biomass feedstock

Piernicola Masella, Lorenzo Guerrini, Alessandro Parenti


The most widespread method for virgin olive oil filtration at industrial scale is the so-called precoat body-feed filtration by means of filter aids, mainly consisting of perlite and cellulose. The residue of the process is a spent filtration cake, that has potential for upgrading if understood in the context of the biorefining concept. Data about the production and composition of the spent cake were collected from an industrial case-study. The potential availability of the spent cake has been estimated both at local (the industrial case-study) and large scale (Spain context). The mean percentage composition of the spent cake is 5 % oil impurities, 7 % cellulose, 28 % perlite, 52 % oil and 8 % water. About 10 g of spent cake are produced per kilogram of virgin olive oil to be processed; while about 316 and 7482 Mg of spent cake could be potentially available for the local and large scale scenarios, respectively. Owing to its diversified composition entailing oil and waxes, cellulose and mineral fractions, the spent cake appears a valuable feedstock to supplement the supply of the emerging biorefineries technologies.


Spent cake – Biorefinery – Filtration–Virgin olive oil –Waxes

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