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Advanced Ohmic Heating for resource efficient Thermal Treatment to produce high quality food products

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OHFASTT (Advanced Ohmic Heating for resource efficient Thermal Treatment to produce high quality food products)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Problem being addressed:
Ohmic heating is an alternative fast heating method for food and beverage products that results in less thermal damage than conventional heating. The technology offers market advantages such as rapid uniform heating, reduced surface fouling, high energy efficiency and high-quality food products. It has potential to be dominant in the food processing industry, but its full commercial opportunity has been hindered by technical deficiencies such as electrode design problems, inefficient pump design, and lack of control in electrical conductivity. Ohmic heating currently processes around 8% of global fruit and vegetable production, but if the technical incapacities are solved, it has the potential to process over 35% of this sector's requirements, creating a market opportunity of €85 billion.

Societal Importance:
Successful implementation of the OHFASTT objective will help to realise a new commercially attractive technology to the EU and global markets. Food processing companies will benefit reductions in processing time and a greater price value for their products that will bring to bear signifacnt customer annual savings per installation compared to conventional installations. There will be assocaited sustanibility benefits from widespread adoption of ohmic technology by way of reductions on energy use, energy costs and CO2 emissions. Consumers could also benefit from improvements in quality and vitamin retention possibilities.

Overall Objectives of the OHFASTT Project:
- To evaluate and quantify the target markets for ohmic heating solution across Europe and globally, helping us to develop strategic market penetration strategies for our ohmic technology.
- To assess and validate the fitness for operational of the modular technical components of the system.
- To conduct a technology watch to determine the Ohmic heating technology under development, the specifications of the current technology and the dynamics of the current technology landscape, supporting the development of an IPR strategy for the protectable results and the appropriate exploitation routes.
- To develop an OHFASTT business plan detailing our funding requirements, commercialisation route, key partners and our financial growth projections over a 5 year period.
Main Work Completed:
Activity 1 - Validation of measurement methods. An Ohmic heating test cell was constructed and tested to validate use of an Ohmic cell for conductivity measurement.
Activity 2 - Colinear heater arrangement has been tested to establish if an in-line Ohmic heater can also be successfully used to measure electrical conductivity
Activity 3 - Electrodes development.
Activity 4. Pumping - A number of different pumps have been evaluated running tests on the pilot Ohmic heater.
Activity 5 – Market Selection Study
Activity 6 – Generation of Competitive Intelligence
Activity 7 – Development of strategic marketing strategy
Activity 8 – Development of refined IPR Strategy
Activity 9 – Refining the ohmic business plan

Summary of Achieved Results
- Validated key technical aspects that will support the removal of barriers to ohmic market uptake.
- Significantly enhanced competitive and market intelligence that has supported the development of strategic marketing and business planning.
- Prioritised our target market using a well-defined market selection process.
- Benefited from both internal and external insights into developing the market for ohmic technology.
The OHFASTT project has enabled us to progress and validate our ohmic technology and to continue with our ambitious plans to significantly expand the market uptake of this technology.

We have undertaken technology and component measurements, testings and trials and built a pilot test rig for analysis. The impact of this work is that we will build on the findings with confidence and plan to further design, build and sell refined, re-designed and re-packaged ohmic products to a (newly) prioritised EU and global marketplace.

We have also undertaken an in-depth analysis of competing technologies, including a benefits/values comparison and connected with EU based customers and stakeholders to gain insights into the market and technical barriers that prevent the fullest uptake of this technology. The impact of the market and work is that we have refined our value proposition and technical positioning statement and directed the findings into an ohmic business plan with ambitious 5-year sales and revenue targets. Through this project, and the IPR and Freedom to Operate analyses, we further refined the way in which we will present our technology in the marketplace.

Further technical and market work (and investment) will enable us to implement an ambitious and realistic business plan to take design, build and sell this refined technology offering with significant positive benefits to the company (turnover, profit, staff retention and recruitment) and to the wider EU community, through customer, consumer and sustainability benefits.
Ohmic heater