Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

OILPULSE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 232146
Funded under: FP7-SME
Country: Germany

New technology for extracting virgin olive oil

Olive oil is an important EU product, virgin olive oil in particular. Researchers have devised a new technology that can be introduced into existing olive mills to improve virgin olive oil yields.
New technology for extracting virgin olive oil
Pulsed electric field (PEF) technology uses electric pulses of varying strengths to break down cell membranes. The application of PEF to olive oil extraction offers better yields, improved nutrient content and decreased energy consumption.

OILPULSE was an EU-funded project set up to investigate the feasibility of using PEF for olive oil extraction. The project involved a consortium of small technology companies as well as some European olive mills.

The first stage of the project involved building a small-scale pilot plant to demonstrate the effectiveness of the PEF system. The pilot plant operated for two harvest seasons and demonstrated that the technology preserved oil quality while increasing oil quantity.

Based on these findings, an industrial prototype was developed at a Spanish research institute and installed in a nearby olive mill. After two years of trials, the PEF technology performed better than standard olive mill technology.

Although the research project is complete, the consortium will continue to gather data on the PEF system and hopes to commercialise it by 2014. This innovative technology could not only save costs for the olive oil industry, but may be applicable to other oil extraction industries as well.

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