Energy reduction technologies enabling PRotein Transition

Publieke samenvatting / Public summary

The introduction of plant protein-based products with a good nutritional value will be a necessary step to achieve sustainability goals in the food industry. The need for this transition from animal proteins to plant proteins is now also sensed by dairy producing industries. However dairy industry has the unique position to take a different approach in ingredients production from plants using their vast know-how on milk fractionation. An approach that is efficient in energy use and does not rely on use of chemicals or organic solvents. Thus the application of dairy technology and know-how provides a wealth of new opportunities to create a next generation of plant-based ingredients and products in a much more efficient manner. One characteristic of fractionation processes in dairy is no or limited use of processing aids or chemicals, contrary to current plant protein practices. We therefore advocate to study the potential of fractionation processes that do not rely on chemicals, which are here referred to as water-only processes.

The main objective of this research is to generate process configurations that are fit for the future, using much less energy per kg of ingredients or (healthy and sustainable) food products. At the same time this novel way of processing should lead to a sustainable industry meeting the national climate and environment objectives in 2030 which could potentially also be implemented in non-food industry like pharma and chemical industry. It is expected that new process configurations will lead to 30% energy reduction in 2030. In addition, the international position of the Dutch process industry will be enhanced, both in reduced energy consumption and knowledge base.

Korte omschrijving
A consortium of Cosun (sugar beets), DSM (neutraceuticals and dietary supplements), FrieslandCampina (dairy and mixed plant-based products) and Pentair (food technology developer) join forces to combine both fundamental and applied research on processing of several mixed streams originating from plant raw materials to make ingredients in an energy efficient manner and low footprint. Besides, due to the mild character of fractionation processes in diary industry, it can be expected that plant protein ingredients can be obtained with new functionalities compared to traditionally processed ingredients.

The following results are foreseen: • Process concept for energy-efficient bulk fractionation of proteins without critical degradation of functionality, enabling further future protein transition. Estimated energy (PJ) reduction 30% compared to the (estimated) current state of technology. Energy savings will be achieved via two routes: by more efficient processing through omitting and reducing use of chemicals and heat, and more importantly because of better use of plant raw materials and reduced losses. • Extended application of sustainable food products due to removed hurdles on energy, safety and off taste. • Industrial show-cases for energy reduction technologies enabling protein transition with new process configurations incorporating energy, carbon footprint and functionality for new process streams.