Extraction of sugarcane wax from filter cake at Kaliro sugar factory
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Sugarcane filter cake or press mud is a byproduct of the sugar manufacturing process at Kaliro sugar factory. Its viability in the production of wax has been analysed in the present study. Furthermore, the economic feasibility of the production of wax at an industrial scale was estimated. A sample of the filter cake was collected at Kaliro sugar factory and subjected to various operations including drying, size reduction and particle size analysis. The moisture content was found to be 42.4%. These operations were followed by solvent extraction of wax from the dried and ground filter cake using three solvents viz; hexane, benzene and toluene which gave yields of 7.52%, 6.67%, and 4.40% respectively. Analyses on the wax were conducted to determine the acid, iodine and saponification values which turned out to be 7.57mg/g, 38.70mg/g and 269.28mg/g respectively. Economic evaluation of the project gave a considerably high payback period estimate of 5.18 years. This was deemed high considering other negative forces like depreciation which could further reduce the income generation capacity of the plant.