Pulp & Paper – Optimizing Tall Oil Separation with Altum’s Solution

Altum’s unique ZPD (Zero Process Downtime) ultrasound technology has proven to be an essential solution for numerous industries. The pulp and paper industry is no exception: it is one of the key industries that benefit from Altum’s ultrasound technology.

One of the processes that Altum’s ZPD  ultrasound technology is used for is tall oil production. In this blog we’ll discuss tall oil and its use potential, and how Altum’s solution can help optimize tall oil separation.

What is tall oil, and what is it used for? 


Crude tall oil is a valuable by-product of the pulp-making procedure. It’s a brownish-yellow, oily liquid obtained from the tall oil soap generated during kraft pulp production.

For those in the pulp and paper sector, tall oil is the third most significant chemical by-product from kraft mills, following lignin and hemicellulose. Annually, the industry retrieves approximately 450,000 tons of crude tall oil.

Tall oil is characterized by its high content of fatty acids and resin acids, making it a valuable raw material for various industries. It is used, for example, in adhesives, inks, cosmetics, chemicals, automotive, construction, paints and coatings, and food. It also has enormous potential as a material for biofuels. Due to its versatile applications as a natural material found in the excess material of the kraft pulp process, it is a valuable resource with a limited supply. Extracting more tall oil from the same amount of tall soap is a major competitive advantage.

Potential and Challenges


The prospects for the tall oil market appear promising, with expectations of consistent growth in the years ahead. This optimism is fueled by the wide-ranging applications of tall oil across various industries, driving its demand.

Furthermore, increasing recognition of the advantages offered by tall oil, including its eco-friendly biodegradability, minimal carbon emissions, and superior technical characteristics, is contributing to its rising popularity.

However, this doesn’t come without challenges. Navigating the production, harvesting, and transportation of crude tall oil presents significant challenges for manufacturers. Beyond logistical hurdles, the process is further complicated by microbial fermentation and pre-treatment steps. Thus, there is a need to further improve the separation process for more efficient production.

What makes Altum’s solution unique?


Altum Technologies offers an innovative solution that could significantly improve the efficiency of a company’s tall oil extraction process.

Our ultrasound solution affects the separation process by utilizing the different properties of the substances in the mixture, helping them separate from each other. It can also enhance mixing, such as combining acids with tall oil soap, and thus improve the separation process while decreasing acid use.

Altum’s Solution – Versatile Advantages


Choosing Altum’s unique, software-guided ultrasound solution for the tall oil procedure brings multiple advantages to your business.

It will:

  • Boost productivity
  • Cut down on production costs
  • Increase operational uptime
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Decrease CO2 emissions

A case study highlights the benefits achieved through collaboration with a Finnish pulp and paper company. Altum’s multichannel solution was installed on the hydrodynamic separator’s inlet pipe to treat the soap and enhance separation.

The results were clear:

  • Ultrasonic treatment of the soap enhanced the separation of tall oil from the soap. Separation was verified by analyzing lignin samples: no tall oil was found in the lignin removed.
  • The yield percentage of tall oil increased by 4%, leading to increased revenue.
  • 30% decrease in sulfuric acid consumption.
  • Tests have shown that ultrasound also significantly enhanced the separation of lignin from alkaline water: as lignin can also be used for various purposes, this separation is beneficial.
  • Increased uptime and safety due to decreased need for manual cleaning and production stoppages.

Altum’s solution has proven to be a significant cost-saving measure by increasing the tall oil yield and simultaneously lowering the need for sulfuric acid and maintenance. Our clients report annual savings of 1-2 million dollars on a single tall oil operation – this achievement represents a substantial benefit for any company.


Are you interested in how we can help your company achieve similar savings and increase production? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

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