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Affordable, low temperature, rapid and energy efficient dual frequency microwave assisted vacuum system for drying and cooking foods

Project description

Microwave vacuum drying food system

Microwave drying presents significant advantages for the food and catering industries. Microwave vacuum dryers are ideal for drying very sensitive products such as fruits, vegetables and fish, and for cooking chicken, due to the combination of two different technologies that create specific conditions, allowing processing at very low temperatures. The EU-funded MILDTECH project will complete a feasibility study to confirm a new system for drying heat-sensitive foods. It consists of a dual-frequency microwave vacuum drying and cooking system that is cost-effective, quick, and requires low energy consumption. The benefits are improved food quality, extended shelf life and reduced cooking time. Additionally, the project will develop more applications, including a smart control system that will allow full equipment’s industrialisation.

Objective

Freshseal Ltd. is a food and catering equipment company that is scaling up and bringing to the EU and global food processing and catering industries a revolutionary dual-purpose machine for the affordable, low temperature, fast and energy efficient dual frequency microwave vacuum drying & cooking system.
Building on the results of the FP7 MILD-DRY project that successfully demonstrated the system in a relevant environment (TRL6), in a subsequent Phase 1 SMEI grant we performed a Feasibility Study to validate a 30kW unit of the new MILDTECH system for drying high value, heat sensitive foods such as mint, in addition to carrots, parsnips, bananas, beetroots, grapes, strawberries and fish, and for cooking whole chickens, chicken fillets and chicken parts. In Phase 2, we will develop additional applications for popular dried and cooked foods, build a library of recipes for optimally controlling the machine depending of the foodstuff to be dried/cooked, implement a smart control system, optimise & downsize the power of the current 30kW unit to a 5kW unit- based on further testing that has revealed that we will be able to produce the same throughput of product in the same amount of time with much less power- with a drying/cooking capacity of 250kg/hour for solid products. We will also produce a smaller catering unit of 2.5 kW power (50 kilos/hour capacity), as well as design a domestic unit (2kW). On the longer term, we will develop a large-scale 20 meters long industrial unit of 100kW with a conveyorized loading/unloading and a 1000 kg/h capacity.
Our new machine is ideally suited for the drying of high value, heat sensitive foods at reduced drying times (40% faster than conventional microwave vacuum dryers), resulting in up to 80% less energy consumption, lower running costs, increased product throughput, improved food quality and extended shelf life compared to conventional drying methods. The system will also be capable of reduced cooking times, under a lower heat than conventional ovens resulting in less moisture loss compared to conventional ovens leading to less weight loss (10-15% savings).

Call for proposal

H2020-EIC-SMEInst-2018-2020

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Sub call

H2020-SMEInst-2018-2020-2

Coordinator

FRESHSEAL LIMITED
Net EU contribution
€ 1 834 682,50
Address
ST GEORGE S ROAD UNIT 1 INDUSTRIAL
TF2 7QZ Telford
United Kingdom

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SME

The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Yes
Region
West Midlands (England) Shropshire and Staffordshire Telford and Wrekin
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Links
Total cost
€ 2 620 975,00