Film freeze concentration is proposed as an innovative mild technology that can be applied to concentrate aqueous food streams (for example, sugar, salt or protein containing streams). During this process ice is selectively frozen from the solution. After growing an ice layer, the concentrated solution is removed and the ice is melted. It is a batch process. TNO calculated that this technology may potentially save 55-90% energy compared to existing concentration technologies such as evaporation and regular freeze concentration. While many previous studies only investigated film freeze concentration on lab-scale, this set-up is unique as it is the first pilot-scale film freeze concentration device that will be used to investigate scale-up of this technology.
The pilot-scale film freeze concentrator has been developed and constructed in the framework of a research project with industrial partners. The equipment has been designed together with research partners and end-users (TNO, Cosun, Nouryon, WUR, ISPT) and can be used in various modes to investigate the technology in much more detail. Jan-Eise Vuist, the PhD student of the Freezecon project at FPE, will use the device to investigate the technology for its energy efficiency and whether the technology can effectively remove pure water from a solution to concentrate with too much inclusion of solutes into the ice. The set-up is large (5*4*4) and thus occupies considerable space.