Norwegian omega-3 producer Pharma Marine has commissioned German food processing technology supplier GEA to engineer and install a new edible oil refining line at its fish oil plant in Søvik, GEA announced on 5 October.

The new refining line at the plant on Norway’s west coast was due for completion in mid-2022, the company said.

Pharma Marine produces omega-3 products from sustainable marine ingredients and its fish oils are used in the food, pharma and cosmetics industries, according to the statement. In addition to its traditional bulk business, the company also supplies ready-to-use liquid products and the latest addition to their portfolio is a range of vegetable oils.

GEA said the commission comprised a customised two-stage neutralisation process line, which was suitable for neutralising either pre-degummed edible oils or oils with a low phosphatide content, such as fish oil.

In the first stage, the fish oil’s free fatty acids (FFA) were saponified with caustic soda, GEA said, before the sodium soap was separated.

The process line included special features to increase flexibility and ease installation, the company said, and all product-contacting parts were stainless steel.

GEA said the plant included an acid treatment as Pharma Marine planned to process different types of fish oil.

The whole process line would be installed on skids, GEA said, to reduce on-site commissioning times and increase flexibility in terms of location.

The skids would contain two refining separators as well as mixers, pumps, small tanks for solids and heavy phase, along with heat exchangers, according to the statement.

Both separators featured the GEA Finetuner, which allowed it to be adapted to varying compositions during operation to maximise yields and meet oil quality specifications, GEA said.