Conventional processes of milk pasteurisation can involve time lost to cleaning, and are otherwise generally inefficient. Hence, a previous EU-funded project (MicroMilk, 2010-2012) devised and validated a more efficient microwave process, but the developments needed refinement prior to commercialisation. The EU-funded MICROMILK-DEMO (Demonstration of a novel microwave processing application for nutritional and shelf stable milk) project aimed to provide the follow-up. The goal was to design and demonstrate a process for manufacturing MicroMilk units. The team furthermore intended to monitor operation of the units over six months, noting and evaluating any faults. Additional goals included developing training packages concerning operation of the process, and to produce a sustainable business exploitation strategy. The seven-member consortium ran for two years, concluding in August 2015. During the first reporting period, team members optimised the design of microwave cavities and piping inside cavities. Results improved the efficiency of conversion of microwave to heat energy. The design principles were applied to the manufacturing of cavities and microwave generators. The same period yielded initial projections about the machine's likely costs and selling price. Project meetings produced a register of possible threats to achievement of the project's milestones, for which the team defined mitigation strategies. The group adopted the commercial strategy previously defined for MicroMilk, which included patenting of the microwave technology. Dissemination activities included a press release in English and German, articles in dairy journals and presentations at two conferences. As of the end of period one, preparations had been made for future demonstration of the system at exhibitions. The MICROMILK-DEMO project has made progress towards effective commercialisation of a microwave milk processing technology. The resulting system was designed to be more energy efficient and cost effective.
Microwave, pasteurisation, milk, milk processing