The prime objective of the proposed YOGHURTAIR project is to generate knowledge and enhance the overall competitiveness of the European dairy industry by developing a novel environmentally benign and cost-effective technology and a versatile pilot system for yoghurt processing. The novelty lies in employing air-cycle-based heat pumps to meet simultaneously the heating and cooling demands of the yoghurt manufacture.
This emerging production method will be implemented for the first time in the dairy sector to provide a perfect processing cycle, involving both a healthy product of natural origin and a system operating with the most natural and purest refrigerant available in the environment. Such an innovative "natural product - natural process" concept affords a unified strategy for integral solving of major environmental, quality and efficiency problems of the conventional food processing by consolidating a critical mass of complementary expertise from SMEs and academia across the EU, associated sates and INCO target countries.
A series of workshops will be arranged and held throughout Europe to promote the new technique among milk processors and end users. Europe-wide dissemination of printed, CD and Internet publications is foreseen to rise the public awareness o f the environmental, health and economic benefits offered by the YOGHURTAIR technology. Feasibility studies will also be conducted on possible applications to thermal and refrigerated processing of other highly perishable biotechnological materials.
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