A method of removing at least one polar component from a fluid stream. The method comprises providing a fluid stream comprising at least one nonpolar component and at least one polar component. The fluid stream is contacted with a supercritical solvent to remove the at least one polar component. The at least one nonpolar component may be a fat or oil and the at least one polar component may be water, dirt, detergents, or mixtures thereof. The supercritical solvent may decrease solubility of the at least one polar component in the fluid stream. The supercritical solvent may function as a solvent or as a gas antisolvent. The supercritical solvent may dissolve the nonpolar components of the fluid stream, such as fats or oils, while the polar components may be substantially insoluble. Alternatively, the supercritical solvent may be used to increase the nonpolarity of the fluid stream.
This invention was made with government support under Contract Nos. DE-AC07-99ID13727 and DE-AC07-05ID14517 awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The government has certain fights in the invention.