The MicroMilk project (Grant Agreement Number: 262603) funded by the R4SME programme (call identifier: FP7-SME-2010-1) delivered high quality science and technology development. MicroMilk involved the RTD of a novel process to facilitate cost-effective, energy efficient and flexible processing of a wide range of different milk variants, including those with high viscosities with minimum start-up and shut-down, minimal surface fouling and therefore less cleaning efforts and water being wasted. A novel continuous microwave milk pasteurization system was successfully developed and validated. The results showed that heating times are 3 times shorter than state of the art indirect heating. Both the indirect and microwave heating result in comparable microbiological, physico-chemical and sensory quality (experimental & commercial). This confirmed that microwave pasteurisation is suited for the commercial production and distribution of drinking milk.
The developed cavity reactor was integrated into a standard milk pasteurization plant, including CIP cleaning and full energy recovery. An industrial scale unit has been designed and specified. Further demonstration at industrial sites to confirm long-term performance, operational costs and economic viability must be undertaken. These include industrialisation of manufacturing processes to enable economies of scale to be achieved. The consortium has identified a number of market opportunities and is keen to bring this development into an industrial stage.
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