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Ultrafruits - dried by sound

Cost-effective and energy-efficient: In the ULTRAVEG project funded by the EU, a system has been developed which can improve drying rates and lower energy consumption during the dehydration process of dried products. And their taste? As good as in conventional production.

Development of a High Power Ultrasound system for low-cost, effective and top-quality drying of fruits and vegetables

Dried foods are popular, healthy, and offer many advantages for the mass production of food - not least cheaper transportation costs, longer storage life and ease of use. However, modern drying methods prove costly, time-consuming, and labour/energy-intensive. There is therefore a need to provide SMEs in the dried food sector in the EU with a technology which will help them to remain competitive in the global market. New technologies are needed which can significantly reduce drying time and save energy costs. The ULTRAVEG project focuses on the development of a High Power Ultrasound system for low-cost, effective and top-quality drying of fruits and vegetables.

During its final meeting on 31st August 2010, hosted by Gefriertrocknung Greven GmbH, Germany, one of the project partners, the ULTRAVEG consortium demonstrated its achievements to industry and the press. ULTRAVEG has shown very promising results which can move the current state of the art in food drying to a new level.

On the basis of scientific work and process development carried out at the Department of Food Biotechnology and Food Process Engineering of the Technische Universität Berlin, two ULTRAVEG prototypes have been built by Innovació i Recerca Industrial i Sostenible, Spain, and tested for use during conventional drying processes. At ttz Bremerhaven, a combination of hot dry air and ultrasound has been tested in a chamber. Additionally, ttz Bremerhaven performed sensory evaluation tests with the processed goods and analysed them chemically. Development work has not yet been fully completed and the technology will be further improved and adapted for use on a larger scale. It can however be concluded that the future uptake of the technology within the dried food industry will benefit European competitiveness and innovation, employment, the environment, and consumers at large.

High Power Ultrasound (HPU) for the dehydration of porous materials seems to be very effective in processes in which heat-sensitive materials such as foodstuffs must be treated. HPU is a safe and environmentally friendly, efficient and economical technology. High-intensity ultrasonic vibrations are capable of affecting mass transfer processes with the result that the drying rate of materials is increased, thus allowing lower temperatures or shorter treatment times. Since it is not a replacement for current drying techniques, the ULTRAVEG system is designed in such a way that it can readily be used in conjunction with existing drying processes. "This gives especially small and medium-sized companies the opportunity to implement the new technology at moderate costs. It is very important for us to see our research results actually being used in real-life business", said Claudia Krines, R&D Director of the Food Technology Department at ttz Bremerhaven.

ULTRAVEG is jointly coordinated by GÖKSER Makina Sanayi Ticaret LTD STI, a Turkish SME, and Innovació i Recerca Industrial i Sostenible, a research organisation in Spain. It is a two-year, industry-driven research and development project that is being funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme. Apart from GÖKSER, the participating SMEs are:

Fullwell Mill Ltd., which is a UK-based company established in 1992 that has been involved in the processing and manufacturing of a wide range of organic, fair trade and health foods, including dried foods and snacks.

Gefriertrocknung Greven GmbH, which was established in 2001 in Germany and is providing dried fruits, herbs and vegetables to the food-processing industry.

Aktive Arc Sarl, which is a supplier of consulting services and equip-ment in the field of new and innovative ultrasonic technologies.

HEBOLD Mixing and More GmbH, which was established in 1925 in Germany and specialises in the manufacture of machinery, dryers, mixing plants, batch mixers, continuous mixers, heat exchangers and valves for the food and pharmaceutical industries.

The RTD performers in ULTRAVEG are the Department of Food Biotechnology and Process Engineering of the Technische Universität Berlin, Germany, Innovació i Recerca Industrial i Sostenible from Spain, and ttz Bremerhaven, Germany.

For more information visit

ttz Bremerhaven is an innovative provider of research services and oper-ates in the field of application-oriented research and development. Under the umbrella of ttz Bremerhaven, an international team of experts is working in the areas of food, environment, health and consulting services.

Christian Colmer
Head of Communication and Media
ttz Bremerhaven
Fischkai 1
D-27572 Bremerhaven (Germany)
Phone: +49 (0)471 48 32 -124
Fax: +49 (0)471 48 32 - 129

Christian Colmer | idw
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