Energy Savings Through Osmotic Concentration for the Food and Beverage Processing Industry
Porifera's PFO Concentrator System will revolutionize the food and beverage industry by offering superior quality products with less energy and cheaper operating costs.
In the third season of demonstration, Porifera optimized the higher-processing capacity system to achieve greater productivity and energy efficiency. Draw regeneration with thermal processing was demonstrated and will be compared to draw regeneration with membranes for energy efficiency calculations. Additional product was made for the customer for further marketing studies and customer development. The PFO Concentrator technology was demonstrated on juices from sources other than watermelon to show the expanded market potential.
Porifera will demonstrate a commercial-scale system that offers an energy efficient way to create high quality concentrates without using heat or pressure. They will build and install their PFO Concentrator system, using an innovative forward osmosis technology to reduce energy, chemicals, and maintenance required for food and beverage processors. The system will be installed for operations at a watermelon processing plant in California, for the duration of three consecutive processing seasons. The team will generate and analyze various juice samples throughout the season and post-season, and make refinements to the system until a third and final configuration is able to demonstrate production of a sellable concentrate that is superior to current quality levels. Porifera is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study and produce freeze-dry products from the concentrates to demonstrate other applications of the system. Measurement and Verification will be performed by the USDA and results will be shared with Energy Commission staff, industry stakeholders, and the demonstration host site.
Food and beverage products will have improved aromas, flavors, and colors, increasing the variety of natural products available on the market.
The PFO Concentrator has the potential to provide between 50-90 percent cost savings over conventional thermal evaporators by offsetting energy and water use.
The PFO Concentrator will reduce CO2 emissions and will improve groundwater and surface water resources due to increased reuse of water.
Key Project Members
Olgica Bakajin, PhD
Jennifer Klare, PhD
Agricultural Research Services, United States Department of Agriculture