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Demonstration of a non-thermal process to replace use of sulphites and other chemical preservatives in European wines to meet new European Directive

Final Report Summary - PRESERVEWINE-DEMO (Demonstration of a non-thermal process to replace use of sulphites and other chemical preservatives in European wines to meet new European Directive)

Executive Summary:
The title of PreserveWine Demo project “Demonstration of a non-thermal process to replace use of sulphites and other chemical preservatives in European wines to meet new European Directive” (GA 606569) clearly describes the goal of the project. Its primary aim is to extend shelf life of wine, reducing the need to use chemical preservatives and ensuring high quality of wine by exploiting a novel alternative for non-thermal processing for wine and must preservation. The process applies a moderate pressure (up to 500 bar) to the wine which is quickly released, resulting in the destruction of spoiling organisms as well as the reduction of dissolved oxygen. The PreserveWine Demo project extends the results and scientific findings of the former PreserveWine project, funded under the R4SME program, to an industrial scale and its application in European wine sector. To enable these research results to be translated into commercial reality there is a need to industrialise the prototype technology, verify its commercial viability with a range of products and to ensure target market acceptance
A novel continuous pressure change technology system which stabilise wine and wine must with high pressure (500 bar) was successfully developed and validated at 120 L/h scale. This process provides a “cold pasteurization process, with the advantage that heat-labile components, colour and taste remain unchanged. The novel PreserveWine system significantly reduced the amount of oxygen in wine, thus providing protection against oxidation directly after treatment and during long-term storage in barrels or bottles. Additional positive effects including the protection of wine from colour changes and maintenance of physicochemical and sensory quality of red and white wine have been indicated but must be more extensively validated in long-term scale.
The technology is called Pressure Change Technology (PCT) and covers the steps of pressurizing the liquid to be treated as well as the gas in two special flow sub-systems of the equipment, followed by mixing in a static mixing device, retention in a flow reactor and rapid release at specialised valve sit or nozzle

The effect of various parameters such as gas type, gas/liquid ratio, de-pressurization system and retention time has been determined following a continuous development of the programme. The challenges of continuous system are the complex structures of the system with dual pressure sub-systems (gaseous and liquid), static mixing and minimising of retention time to led the tubular reactor smart. The equipment has to be supervised under European Pressure Device Directive. For acceptance in food industry and in particular in wine industry it has to be simple and has to meet the hygienic requirements for cleaning.
An industrial scale unit has been designed and specified, as well as the manufacturing processes to enable economies of scale to be achieved. In post project period further demonstration at industrial sites to confirm long-term performance, operational cost and economic viability must be undertaken.
As a part of the dissemination activities the consortium has identified a number of market opportunities and several potential customers registered interest in purchasing the industrialized technology. At the same time, next to the various press releases and articles, as well as presentations among scientists and industry that have already been realized, publications of scientific results and briefing of wineries and stakeholder has to be organized to gain acceptance and validation by the European wine authorities.
Six SME - representing the full line from engineering to end user – one Association of wineries and a Performance Provider collaborated within consortium and guarantee the competence in full scale in related technology, control systems, application field and economic strategy and implementation

Project Context and Objectives:
The novel PreserveWine system is a non-thermal stabilization unit working under inert atmosphere, thus providing protection against oxidation directly after treatment and during long-term storage in barrels or bottles. Further positive effects including the protection of wine from colour changes and the maintenance of physicochemical and sensory quality of red and white wine and must be more extensively validated.
The PreserveWine technical approach has been identified as being highly suited and more appropriate than existing state of the art approaches for small and medium scale wineries; Europe is the world’s leading wine producer; with more than 1.5 million holdings and 1.5 million full-time employees, over 95% working for SMEs. EU27 produces 175million hl p.a. 65% world production, 57% of consumption and 70% of exports. However it is a sector under threat by exports from “New World” wines. Over the last ten years, wine imports to the EU have grown by 10 percent per annum. According to the EC, unless the European wine industry becomes more competitive and strengthens its reputation for quality wines, its days as market leader are numbered.
According to CEEV, the main objective of the wine CMO (Reg 479/2008) is “to increase the competitiveness of EU wines, by providing EU oenologist with the largest possible choice of oenological practices so that they can adapt their wines to changing consumers’ demands. Sulphites are included in the positive list of allergenic substances to be labelled (annex III of Directive 2000/13). Therefore, the reduction of the SO2 average dose without undermining the wine quality is an overall objective for the EU wines”. Accordingly, PCT is a technology that has the potential to provide significant benefits when compared with existing techniques; especially in providing consumers the perception of a healthy, preservative-free product.
Further process advantages are related to operational costs: as no heat is used, minimum energy costs can be anticipated. This is in line with current initiatives undertaken by the European Food and Drink Manufactures Association (CIAA) that seek to reduce waste and minimise, energy and water consumption to support the sustainability of this sector. Reducing energy consumption is of special interest in secondary applications, for instance in fruit juice or milk stabilisation, where heat treatment is usually required. 80% of the energy consumption in dairy and fruit juice processing operations is due to heating. If some of these products identified were treated using PCT instead of using thermal processes, a significant amount of energy could be saved. This may to be confirmed case by case, where regulations demanding heat treatment do not apply (e.g. this would be the case of market milk processing, which is strictly regulated and must be heat-treated)

This project was a key instrument to enable this novel PCT technology to be developed into a robust industrial system, enabling to shown to relevant potential customers from across industry and across Europe, the potential benefit to their respective businesses. As well, allows to validate a commercially viable process that can be marketed with a reasonable return on Investment (RoI) by customers.
The main objectives of the project are:
1. To design an industrial cellular manufacturing process to enable the production of robust integrated PreserveWine units. To estimate the optimum scale for demonstration based on technical feasibility and economic viability for equipment manufacturer and SME wineries. To demonstrate the production process with at least two continuous pressure change technology units designed for different purposes: 1) a flexible, mobile unit with a throughput of at least 600 L/h to be used in wineries for flexible transportation and use at various winemaking stages and 2) a robust, semi-mobile unit with a throughput of between 600 L/h and 1200 L/h (according to calculated optimum scale) for long term performance and calculation of energy savings and operational costs for evaluation . To simplify and standardize components by establishing cellular manufacturing principles and value engineering procedures, supported by Six-Sigma tools to ensure quality of process outputs• Enable economies of scale to be achieved.
2. To reach the Certification by national authorities of the location of application site based on the documents, to monitor the operation of the two units produced which represent two different industrial applications for a period of at least six months continuous operation. Key performance parameters to be monitored will include: pressure, temperature, retention time, flow rate, gas/liquid mixing rate and product quality (microbial, chemical and organoleptic analyses). To evaluate cleaning performance, shut-downs and estimate operational costs as compare to SoA approaches. After six months the two units will examined for deterioration and biofilm formation. To summarize the experience of the end-users according to pre-defined questionnaires .
3. To confirm the economic viability of the technology for the SMEPs in this project, by ensuring that technology and equipment set-up are economically viable and attractive for sufficient industrial customers; To estimate investments and operational costs for the participating SMEPs in post project period.
4. To prepare training methodologies in the operation of the process. To ensure full and complete transfer of knowledge from the RTD performer to the SME partners. To present the industrial units technically validated to over sixty industry representatives.
5. To ensure continued IP protection for the benefit of the SME partners. To disseminate protected IP which will be undertaken to enable maximum commercialization of the results post-project, dissemination actions to include; five technical publications or conference proceedings and, presentations to at least two European industry trade shows.
In general the PreserveWine Demo Project has to demonstrate three issues for a positive and successful Market entry and market penetration:
• To install a simple and robust instrumentation for the application in wineries and related companies, that complies the requests of safety in high pressure equipment for mechanical and control schemes, that use similar handling strategy as common in application field and that meets the functionality for a widespread divers characteristics of wine respectively must
• To organise these units with competitive invest and operational costs and a low personnel effort to run and clean it
• To disseminate the results and findings of technology to the winemaker community and demonstrate the benefits of the technology to reach OIV acceptance
At the beginning of the Demonstration Project focus of activities and work have been not so clearly directed to these essential three points but at the end the experience from partner in the consortium can be summarised so far.
This enables the company partner in the consortium to continue with industrialisation of the technology in post-project period, even if some turbulence within the consortium hindered a complete success of PreserveWine Demo Project.
Project Results:
In order to translate the objectives of The PreserveWine Demo project to a detailed and focused handling there have been several tasks to obtain the objectives. These handlings are:
• Enable industrial scale manufacture of the prototype base established in the RTD project.
• Confirm microbial stability and organoleptic quality of a various wine types at various wine making stages, in accordance with oenological practices at test sites
• Transfer RTD results from the research base to the SME partners
• Confirm economic viability of developed process by evaluating operational costs, energy savings and impact on consumer’s appreciation towards sulphite-free (or reduced) wine (willingness to pay more).
• Show to potential application to costumers
• Engage potential costumers
The first two points handle the improvement of the existing equipment from the former R4SME research project to a functional industrial version of PCT process.
Improvement and simplifying of the PCT equipment for industrial scale:
Improvement of the PCT equipment covers the improvement of the mixing e.g. the stringent mixing of compressed gas into the liquid flow, increase of repeatability during expansion and measures to avoid pressure strokes within the continuous liquid flow. At the end of project it seems simple to reach these points but it was an empirical process to better the set-up of the different functional modules for better performance.
Static mixing was find out to need a manifold instrumentation of static mixers before the retention module is reached. Four-fold mixing was suitable to reach enough dissolution of gas within the liquid, a essential step for diffusion of gas into the to be killed microbial cells
Stable expansion was organised by a nozzle implementation at the expansion sit. Under point of view of cleaning and disinfection of the unit and safety of handling, use of nozzle is negative, but its use made the expansion stable and allowed some repeat accuracy in the spoilage reduction results.
Measures to avoid pressure strokes within the flow tubular reactor have been the exchange of the simple acting gas multiplier with a two piston device and optimisation of the gas dosing valve.
With these improvements the continuous flow PCT process gets significant higher performance resulting in a killing of about two logs of Saccharomyces cerevisiae , where applied retention time was up to one minute. This reduction rate is valid for use of Nitrogen and of Argon, in case of Argon use the results are more stable. The results demonstrate the successful improvement of the PCT unit as well as a set of efficient process parameters. One can assume that the one minute retention time is on lower level and should be increased for higher reduction rates. However this is an optimisation, which each time has to be done to find out optimum for the autochthon wild and culture yeast.
Simplifying of the unit was an essential task for industrialisation. Naturally simplifying results in lower effort to set-up equipment, but the unavoidable simplifying of the process as well as of the instrumentation was necessary to enable operability in wineries. On one hand side the PCT device is a high pressure unit with dual tracts for pressurized liquid and pressurised gas. To ensure safety of the equipment and to meet the requests of Pressure Directive, the unit needs a lot of components, which have been to handle in event based scheme. On the other hand the operator in winery has to find a simple handling – not only for acceptance but indeed for safety.
The task was solved by applying a consequent modular design to the unit itself and to the modules. This concept follows the intention to design and realise different equipment with simplified process scheme on one hand side. But it allows variants for different applications on one modular concept.
The core part of one unit now integrates four modules:
• Gas compression module – the most complicated and most sensitive one, covering itself some sub-modules as repeat components
• Liquid pump
• Retention module , including the static mixers
• Release module

Due to industrial scale:
In all cases the design of the gas booster unit will be used with implementation of controlled valve. These changes do not influence the function but better the handling and visual monitoring once built in in a unit.
Principally the gas supply can be organised by gas cylinders, but for more extensive volume rates it makes no sense to do not technically nor in price frame of the used gas. The industrial gas supply does not belong to the delivery. The same is valid for the compressed air gas compressor. Normally wineries will have; in case of little organisations and trial service a mobile compressor can be used.

In all cases the kind and design of the liquid high-pressure pump will be similar. Preferred are CAT-Pumps which allow choosing three different sized but identically designed three piston pump heads. Equipped with suitable different gears and motors these pump heads allow volume rates from 2 l/min to 20 litres per minutes. To be clear one specified unit cannot cover the total volume range because the pump heads are limited.

The mixing modules are the input of the retention modules. They will be the same ones. To meet the correct mixing the number of mixers will be adjusted to four parts. The retention tube itself is designed with a multistage repetition of the same tube part, connected by straight forward connectors. This module has potential to be more simplified and made cheaper by avoiding the numerous connectors. This requires a supplier, who is approved to weld high pressure piping, a sophisticated task in the range of 500 bar.
The release module incorporates check valves at the end of the tubular reactor, the sit of the expansion nozzle and digital meters to measure and monitor pressure and temperature before expansion. These are parameter for monitoring the PCT process and for monitor the treatment of wine as food stuff.
All modules are built into a welded rack of 1200 X 800 x1850 (L X WX H) mm, whereas two even are necessary for one unit.
Initially a mobile platform for trailer on car was designed. Experience with the transport of the existing unit from Stuttgart to Bordeaux and vice versa result in displacement within the rack after some times. This is not acceptable for a high pressure unit with certification at all. Therefore the idea of flat mobile platform was revised. Both pumps and in particular the high pressure liquid pump including its gear are so heavy and hard fixing to rack is unavoidable.
The sensors for measuring pressure and temperature are the same ones for all variants. Therefore different volume rate units do not need different controller and converters for digital pressure gauges. Valve and tube sizing is nearly for all variants the same. The only exceptions are the safety valves and rupture disks of the liquid pump.

The other components allows variation respectively decision between different design. The decision, which will be the most suitable for a specific application case (e.g. high amount of wine lees or particulate matter, very resistant autochthon yeast population, high amounts of tartaric acid etc...) will be supported for the client in before of sale or service of PCT units. Once decided, changes may be possible but will provoke new certification of the technical authorities.

Certification of the units is a very important issue in future. To comply with High Pressure Directive each unit has to checked and approved by the related national authority. A more or less unique design will support this effort and cost driving procedure.
There has been set-up a calculation tool to estimate the flow pattern within tubes and valves for turbulent or laminar (worse in mixing) flow. Regarding the fact that high pressure components are seldom on market one has to decide, which dimensions in particular which tube diameters are suitable and economic viable.
Based on quotas from the low number of acknowledged producers and/or distributors in pressure business the consumable costs for the mechanical set-up and monitoring function are calculated to be lower than
50 TEUR for low lot size numbers. This is a big step forward for a industrial PCT unit price. Next step here must be a lowering of purchasing process for the gas booster and the high pressure liquid pump because both together sum up to approximately the half of the parts price sum.
The final design for the industrial PCT unit has two weaknesses, which implies to check again the differences between fully continuous flow like in PreserveWine Demo project and an older semi-continuous equipment. These two weaknesses are:
• Use of expansion nozzle with a diameter of approx. 0.3 mm for 2l/minute flow rate show “cutting behaviour” in case of plastic bottles. This means there must be a suitable protection shield fpr hands and eyes. This decreases operability
• Very long tubing – in particular in retention module provokes a high loss of wine when starting and shut down the process. For competitive operational costs this must be decreased.
Within the PreserveWine DEMO project consortium focused on the simplifying and improvement of the PCT equipment for industrial scale. The unit was re-designed in order to improve the efficiency of the process and obtain an applicable approach ready for industrial realisation. The efficiency of this improvements were validate being successful. As the consortium was satisfied with the results obtained and the final design of the industrial unit was finalized. The core components of the industrial unit were purchased but the building, commissioning and demonstration of process could not be finalized within the project duration.
The optimization of the pilot unit was successfully concluded. These results can be easily extrapolated to a 5-fold up-scale unit. Hazard and operability study (HAZOP) were conducted and used as a base for the final design of the industrial scale production unit.
Transfer of RTD results from the research base to the SME partners

The PreserveWine-DEMO consortium has developed effective training methodologies in the operation of the process, to ensure full and complete transfer of knowledge form the RTD performer to the SME partners. This knowledge transfer ensures that the SME participants in this project are able to maximize their commercial exploitation of the technology and educate their customers in the safe and efficient operation of the pressure change technology. This will include protocols from training sessions and feedback given by the trainers. Full and complete transfer of knowledge from the RTD performer to the SME partners (Château Guiraud, Malthe Winje and Edecto) during a workshop takin place at Adera facilities (26th November 2014 and 10th February 2015).
The main objectives achieved after these two transfer workshops the SMEs were thefollowing:
• Understanding of the process fundaments and technology by the SMEs
• Understanding of the Unit operability
• Suggestions for the SMEs to improve the unit towards an industrial operation
• Feedback by the trainees
• Hygienic design has to be improved and most especially on the expansion and reception tank.
• Expansion tank hast to installed on a separated compartment, at bottom level and with wheels to facilitate the transportation.
• Control panel has to be easy to operate and only the necessary parameter have to be set by the operator
Beside these central organized workshops the majority of detailed process knowledge was transferred during a couple of Technical meetings and in multilateral and bilateral discussions among partner.

Confirm economic viability of developed process by evaluating operational costs, energy savings and impact on consumer’s appreciation towards sulphite-free (or reduced) wine (willingness to pay more)

The economic viability of the process was demonstrated on different scenarios of flow rate, kind of gas. Calculations are given in the Impact section
Up to now the economic viability for user/winery is guaranteed in premium wine segment and lower. In wine mass market the economic viability is not valid. Due to the volume rates in wine mass market one must mention: even if the economic viability will be given by accepting an additional price of 5-6 cents per litre for operational and capital costs; it is impossible to set-up a PCT unit for this market with volume rates up to 50 cubic metres per hour. There exist no high pressure components (Pump, valve, tube etc.) on market and in particular no ones for food application. Up to now there was no need.

Demonstrate to potential application to costumers - Engage potential costumers
Due to the awareness of the partner for communication of the benefits of new PCT process – a lot of effort was spent to demonstrate the techniques to the wine community. A detailed list is provided below. In nearly each case of demonstration of PCT technology big interest can be met regarding the reduction of sulphite. On the other hand: use of sulphite to protect wine is an old tool in winemaking. Like the hammer in the mechanical tool box. There exist several causes, for what sulphite is good for beside the microbial inactivation and the oxygen protection. In some cases this maybe experience and in some cases mystery. But nearly all winemakers are interested once due to fact that PCT treatment reduces dissolved oxygen immediately. These discussions let to an additional focus on must respectively just fermentation starting must.

Due to market penetration the mobile unit with volume rate of approximately 10 litre/hour s suitable for preliminary trials. Interest in such trials is very high in community. To enter the market in next month a lot of such trials must be run. The available volume rate of 120 litre/ minute is completely satisfactory in first times. One have to have to remember that the most cost driving action is the loss of some hundred litre wine in such a trial. The acceptance of 5-6 cent per litre in running a unit is only the second or third step.

Potential Impact:
The PreserveWine Demo Project has identified that there is a significant market opportunity for PCT in the wine sector. The number of wineries in European Union is extremely high within the four leading wine growing countries France, Spain, Italy and in particular Germany.

The most important benefit of the PCT treatment is the possibility to lower the sulphite content in the wine. One important out-finding of the project is the knowledge about reduction of sulphide dioxide but not complete elimination of this preservative, regarding long-term stability during years and years of storage. Here some low addition of sulphite is suitable. However the reduction of sulphite during processing and during storage may be significant, if the PCT treatment of must, fermented must and young wine can be successfully applied. This was demonstrated within the PreserveWine Demo Project.
Reduction of use of preservatives is a health policy objective within the European countries and in accordance with the food safety and health protection policy of the European institutions. Therefore the reduction of this old and widespread preservative in winemaking will be of benefit of the European winemakers and for the consumer. Even sensitive person show some allergy potential to sulphide dioxide and will join for less allergenic compounds in wine and wine beverages.

But treatment by PCT process in winemaking is not yet an allowed processing; before application in relevant numbers of wineries an OIV approval is required. For this fact extensive dissemination activities has been done within the consortium on a three level strategy: - communication the general community by press releases, video, internet communication; communication to the winemaker community to inform and demonstrate the new kind of technology and activities done by CEEV and IGB, Fraunhofer group.
There is a GO / NO GO decision for real market penetration in the future years regarding this OIV approval. The situation is as follows:
• There is demand from consumers, the wine industry and regulatory authorities to remove sulphites from wine and if it is not possible to remove all sulphites to progressively reduce levels of sulphites in wine. The results from this and the previous PreserveWine project has established that reduction of sulphites can be achieved using PCT without noticeable loss of product quality.
• Approval by OIV (International organisation of Vine and Wine) is critical for the wine industry to accept and use PCT processing. Approval will create significant market pull for the technology, rejection will conversely make market acceptance highly challenging.

Dr. Ana Lucia Vásquez Caicedo (Fraunhofer IGB) made an initial presentation to the OIV in Paris 24th-25th March 2014. A post presentation was then made to the OIV 38 World Congress of Vine and Wine (Mainz Germany) 6th-9th July 2015. These presentations to the OIV have been received with interest. An application for approval is due to be made once all technical results have been made and an assessment of these results has been established.
There is also recognition that the role of OIV in approving the technology is critical to enable it to be deployed commercially in Europe. Therefore the next stage post project is to proceed in attempting to obtain OIV approval.
However the economic viability for the technology, both for suppliers within the consortium and for potential clients could be confirmed. All issues will impact the success in post-project period and all three fields an improved and new level of development was achieved. It was determined that the market opportunity for the PCT technology is significant. The economic performance established on pilot scale trials is acceptable for premium wines and potentially for other wines. Crude economic estimates compare favourably with the advice received from Château Guiraud that a premium of up to €1/bottle would be acceptable for the premium wines that they sell. The costs identified above would also be acceptable for less premium wines.

For example in a scenario approximately 175 k EUR/unit capital costs, depreciation over ten years and - taking into account seasonal variations on plant demand it is considered reasonable to assume that plants will be operated with 50% utilisation, 4380 hours per year the processing costs per litre wine can be estimated. Under a comparable scenario with a 1200 litre/hour unit size the total additional costs (operational and capital ones) are 0,057 EUR/litre using Argon and 0,054 EUR/litre using Nitrogen.

A market replication and deployment plan was presented in the proposal and resultant description of work. This plan was summarised in the table (below), and gave projections for five years post project. This was based on sales of PCT systems with each unit having capacity of 12000 L/h:

Year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Market size (Mio l) 1650 1650 1650 1650 1650
Market penetration 0.05% 0.08% 0.15% 0.30% 0.50%
Market PCT (Mio l) 8.25 13.2 24.75 49.5 82.5
Production capacity 4.125 10.56 37.125 148.5 412.5

Even if a very low market penetration is assumed in the table above, the hypothetic production capacity of thousands and thousands of units in the next years is not realistic. Contrary the placement of units in the first 2 –3 post project years is a challenge of the SME. As part of the discussions with commercial sources of finance different sources of post project financing were investigated. These were both for the investment required to undertake initial system build and for access to finance for system purchase and operation. With regards to funding for system operators it is anticipated that this would be most likely through relationships of a commercial finance stakeholder. Partner Uvasol have developed and would most likely involve a lease finance model bespoke for local national market requirements. With both these investment requirements and after numerous meetings we were advised that the availability of commercial finance would only become available once OIV approval is obtained.

Secondary additional effects like reduction of heat in general beverage industry can be obtained only in long-term scale if the a remarkable number of units will be sold.
Within the consortium were continuously on-going publication and dissemination activities (results post-project (five technical publications or conference proceedings and, presentations to at least two European industry trade shows). To this feature belongs the more active information of the winemaker community and the publications and communications to the OIV organisation and its scientific committee. These activities in the project supports the further industrialisation process with its three pillars – production – value creation – societal benefits for the consortium and for the future customers potentially. Dissemination and publication activities to the winemaker community and in particular to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) are included in the part B listing of D&E activities below.
The economic impact for the consortium members and the winemaker community can be summarised in the sentence: “The overall market in Europe is significant and that there is increasing interest in both eliminating and reducing the levels of sulphites added to wine. PCT offers the potential to enable this to take place.”

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