Pilot plant for the next step in low energy drying of food and other high value products

Publieke samenvatting / Public summary

In the ENGENDER project, the existing pilot plant unit will be used to carry out spray drying tests with various products. The tests aim at confirming the flexibility of the RMD technology and at optimizing the operating parameters and details of the design. Long-time testing is aimed at. The test program will allow to gain insight in the possible window of operating conditions and in the stability of operation. Start-up and shut-down procedures will be further optimized in order to prevent fouling during start-up that is detrimental for long-time operation. Particular attention will be paid to the product quality and the influence of the operating conditions on the latter. Optimization of the energy efficiency will be addressed and scale-up to a demo plant will be prepared through the development and validation of a multiphase simulation model.

The ENGENDER project aims to realize a breakthrough in drying of food ingredient materials using a new compact drying technology, the Radial Multizone Dryer (RMD). In the project the RMD technology will be developed at the pilot-scale and design rules for industrial demonstration will be described. The expected energy savings are estimated up to 30% compared to conventional spray drying and will be confirmed for a selected set of model systems, that is, test materials.

Korte omschrijving
The following main activities are foreseen: 1. Benchmark of RMD technology versus conventional spray drying confirming product quality with various model systems and business case regarding energy saving, drying air consumption and cost of ownership. 2. Improvement of RMD design with respect to fouling and constant quality at long run times (> 4 hours) using model systems of industrial partners. 3. Determination of pre-design for industrial demo plant (using CFD model and results of experiments in previous activity). In order to realize industrial applicable results initiating collaboration with an equipment supplier will be part of the project

The project continues on previous projects that developed the RMD concept and in which an RMD apparatus was designed and tested at the lab scale and at the pilot plant scale for the case of FrieslandCampina, namely focusing on milk spray drying. Efficient drying is achieved by combining radial multizone and high-G operation. The radial multizone operation allows to feed hot air in the radially central zone of the chamber where the droplets are injected and to feed mild temperature air in the periphery where the particles are recovered. High-G operation is achieved by making use of vortex chamber technology. The mild temperature air is injected through a number of vortex chambers to generate a rotational motion and to control the axial motion in the drying chamber. Droplets injected in the chamber undergo a fast initial drying upon contact with the hot air and are under the action of the high-G force rapidly evacuated to the mild temperature periphery for final drying and recovery.