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By Teroeska Boterkooper: Business Development Manager at NIZO
Tuesday, the 24th of January, a group of international participants visited NIZO for the annual “Membrane Concentration and Evaporation” course. A mixed group of R&D managers and food technologists from Spain, Switzerland, America and Scandinavia were represented, from different industries, such as biotechnology, plant ingredients, coffee and dairy.
After Martijn Fox, our Expertise Group Leader Processing and myself welcomed the group Martin Timmer of ETD &C BV kicked-off the day. He started by presenting the theory of membrane concentration. After the theoretical basis, participants could share knowledge and experience from their personal experience. Questions were addressed such as: What is the best membrane for my application? What to keep in mind when cleaning my membranes? Sensitive subjects, such as microbial issues were also discussed in the group or face-to-face during one of the network moments. One of the candidates confessed during the coffee break, “I was happy with the question of my fellow participant, because we face similar issues in our company as well and now I don’t have to ask this delicate question myself.”
Markus Kyburz, Sr. Industry consultant for DOW gave an inspiring presentation with many examples how to valorise waste streams using membrane technology. An compelling story that many have taking home to use in their own companies. And I am convinced that no one will forget the rule of thumb: 1 mol / liter equals approximately 25 bar.
During this day, participants were also challenged to bring theory into practice. It became clear that to obtain the best quality and maximum output from a production line, you have to look at the entire process line instead of a single unit operation only. Treatments prior to membrane concentration, affect the process as well. And membrane concentration influences next steps such as evaporation and spray drying. That’s why evaporation was on the program for the second training day, followed by our 2-day course on “Spray Drying”. Satisfied and full of new, directly applicable, ideas on membrane filtration and spray drying, the participants went back to their daily practice.