2Department of Chemical Eng., Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, NIGERIA
Response surface methodology (RSM) and genetic algorithm (GA) were employed to determine the optimum conditions for the removal of pigments from palm oil using Ogbunike clay activated with hydrochloric acid. The physicochemical characterization of the clay showed that it exists mainly as kaolinite. The process variables and ranges used in the experimental design were 75 – 150 oC bleaching temperature, 1.50 – 3.00 hours bleaching time, 1.25 -5.50 g clay dosage and 0.05 – 0.40 mm particle size. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that a second order polynomial regression equation was adequate for fitting the experimental data. The model statistical tests carried out showed a good correlation between the experimental and predicted values (R2 = 0.9964). About 73.35 % pigments were removed using RSM while 71.34% pigments were removed using genetic algorithm at the optimum conditions. Hence, Ogbunike kaolinite proved to be a good adsorbent for pigments removal from palm oil.