Energy Savings Through Osmotic Concentration for the Food Industry
October 18, 2023
Energy Research and Development (500)
Electric Program Investment Charge - EPIC
Olgica Bakajin, Jennifer Klare, Ivana Sede, Porifera Inc.
The Porifera Forward Osmosis (PFO) Concentrator, a non-thermal, membrane-based system can create a high-quality, high-concentration concentrate without degradation and without high power requirements.
The purpose of this project was to install a commercial-scale PFO Concentrator, produce a sellable product, and demonstrate the benefits of this technology in producing non-thermal juice concentrates and freeze-dried powder products. The demonstration took place over three years at Van Groningen & Sons’ commercial watermelon juicing facility in Manteca, California.
The project demonstrated continuous 24-hour cycle concentration of watermelon juice from 8 to 30, 50, and 65 degrees Brix with superior nutritional quality compared to thermally processed juice. Sensory analysis confirmed that the flavor and the aroma of the juice concentrate were well preserved during and after processing. The PFO Concentrator was demonstrated to have 24-94 percent lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than the competing technologies, depending on the operational parameters.
Implementation of Porifera’s technology within the food and beverage industry will significantly reduce seasonal electrical and natural gas demand during the harvest and processing season. The energy savings occur in reduced energy needed for processing and for refrigeration. Substantial reduction of GHG emissions can be achieved by transporting concentrates instead of single strength juice.