Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - SUSMILK (Re-design of the dairy industry for sustainable milk processing)

Executive Summary:
Industrial food production serves to satisfy basic human needs, and the dairy industry accounts for 13 % turnover in the entire food and beverage industry in Europe. The aim of the project SUSMILK is to initialize a system change within the whole process chain for the milk market and milk products to minimize energy and water consumption and to establish renewable energy resources. Therefore, (today’s) energy efficient technologies need to be adapted and developed continuously to meet the current requirements in the dairy industry. As process machines and equipment have often been used over long periods of times of up to 30 years in the food industry, the implementation of such innovations will have an impact on energy consumption and CO2-emissions for the next decades. To ensure a sustainable supply of energy and raw materials over such a long time, a system change is overdue.
Milk processing is characterized by a large variety of heating and cooling processes within the chain from raw milk transportation and delivery until the final product. SUSMILK contains three innovation fields where efficient technologies and concepts are developed or adapted for the dairy industry. These three areas focus on “energy (converting) technologies”, targeted processing of milk before subsequent processing for end products, and the utilization of waste streams to output valuable products or renewable fuels.
The innovation field of energy (conversion) technologies within SUSMILK focuses on heat pumps, absorption chillers, and solar heat technology in combination with biomass heating for a 24 h supply of heat. All of these technologies can contribute to a decrease of primary energy consumption and GHG emissions. Additionally, the combination of these and other technologies was investigated in order to find scenarios that can provide primary energy savings of more than 50 % and other benefits.
The second innovation field covers the pre-concentration of milk as a further instrument to save water and energy. This measure has the potential to reduce transport energy, to reduce the sizes of tanks and machines in the dairy, and to increase the efficiency of production processes for cheese, yoghurt and other such products. Furthermore, concentrated milk ensures to provide a standardized product. Pre-concentration via membranes offers the possibility to process milk without high energy demand and also without high temperature treatment, which decreases the milk quality.
The third innovation field introduces improvements in the handling of dairy wastes. Clean-in-place (CIP) processes, which produce wastewater with high organic load, are necessary to observe hygienic standards along the dairy production chain. Closed water circuits and recycling of CIP solutions is another challenging part of the project. Hence, improvement concepts will be worked out for that. Furthermore, the use of the high organic load fraction of the waste water as raw material for biogas, bioethanol and lactic acid production was investigated.
Within SUSMILK four different prototypes (gas driven heat pump, medium performance level absorption chiller, optimized solar panels with harmonized biomass heating system, innovative milk concentration unit) have been developed, built and demonstrated in the SUSMILK partner dairies. In addition all these technologies have been assessed in an overall dairy improvement concept with life cycle assessment (LCA), exergy analysis and an economic analysis. Finally, different scenarios have been developed that provide optimized green dairy concepts. Some of the investigated improvement options were transferred to an online calculator where the user can check if there are potential improvement options available for their dairy (

Project Context and Objectives:
The dairy industry is one of the most energy and water consuming industries in the food processing. Reducing the water and/or energy consumption would contribute to a more sustainable food production while keeping the dairy industry competitive in the future. By reducing the overall consumption the dairy becomes more independently from varying energy and water prices.

Although there are already many energy efficient and advanced technologies available they are not meant to be directly installed in a dairy. Therefore those technologies need to undergo an adaptation in order to fit perfectly into the dairy infrastructure. This is especially related to energy conversion techniques (heating/cooling) that need to deliver certain temperature levels which are needed in a dairy. An advanced aim would be to reduce the energy intensive steam consumption by hot water. The adaptation becomes also necessary, because many dairies have been built many years ago under the constraint of low energy prices. This leaded to an infrastructure that is currently often not suited for new technologies.

SUSMILK aimed to deliver tailored technological solutions that will utilize wastes, materials as well as energetic wastes in terms of heat, but also the integration of renewable energy. All SUSMILK technologies and concepts are modules that are “green” and suitable technologies for the dairy industry, especially in Europe. Certain “green” technologies are only green under certain conditions. Thus in SUSMILK an extensive evaluation of all proposed technologies and concepts was carried out to assess their applicability and to define the constraints of their usage. Therefore a generic dairy model was developed that serves as a baseline for the evaluation and that contains already state-of-the-art technology. The SUSMILK technologies have been analyzed by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and an exergy-based analysis in order not to overlook improvement potentials. Other outcomes are several green dairy scenarios which show the potential of integrating advanced technologies into the generic dairy model. It was shown that even in existing dairies many hidden improvement potentials are present.

In SUSMILK four different prototypes have been built (heat pump, absorption chiller, solar heat panel + biomass boiler system, milk concentration unit) and also demonstrated in partner dairies in Germany and Spain. All other concepts were investigated under laboratory conditions.

The objectives of the whole SUSMILK project according to Annex I of the Grant Agreement were:

• Application of new technologies for heat generation (solar heat, heat pumps) and distribution (hot water instead of steam) in dairies

• Adaptation of new chilling technologies (absorption chiller)

• Application of membrane filtration techniques for an innovative pre-concentration of milk

• Development of new concepts for low temperature drying of milk

• Waste-stream treatments to save water and/or to produce products (biogas, bioethanol, lactic acid)

• Testing of developed technologies and concepts in pilot applications under real life conditions

• Detailed LCA of the dairy process and development of a decision making tool for more competitive and "green dairy” plants

• Exergy-based analysis to show the full potential of energy and water savings within the dairy industry.

In the following the outcome for each objective is described. In general all envisaged objectives have been realized which is also proven by the submitted deliverables.

New technologies for heat generation:

The new technologies for heat generation cover solar heat panels (Solarfocus, Austria) and heat pumps (Simaka, Germany). These technologies are not new in general, but in SUSMILK crucial advancements in respect to their application in dairies were developed. The final objective of an optimized solar heat collector that can produce higher output temperatures more efficiently was achieved. The developed high temperature solar heat panel was tested on a quasi-stationary test bench with good results. In addition, improvements were implemented in the remote control system. An easy to use and free of charge software has been developed.

Also a new heat pump system prototype was developed in SUSMILK. This new heat pump has some interesting features compared to existing technology on the market. The heat pump has a gas-driven instead of an electrically driven engine which allows taking advantage of low natural gas prices. Furthermore, an automatic oil changing system was realized in order to reduce maintenance needs. The potential output temperature is up to 120 °C which can serve ideally the needs of a dairy. Other intermediate temperature can also be realized.

Potentially both technologies provide hot water on a temperature level which is very useful for dairies but operate optimally with water distribution inside the dairy instead of steam. In SUSMILK the integration of the developed technologies allowed to save fossil energy by using unused waste heat and renewable energy. The solar heat panels were demonstrated in a dairy in Spain (Queizuar) and the heat pump in a German dairy (Karwendel).

Adaptation of new chilling technologies (absorption chiller):

In SUSMILK an absorption chiller prototype was realized. A thermodynamic analysis was carried out and a comparable simplified design was chosen. Initially 50 kW were envisaged as desirable performance level. In laboratory tests this was approximately achieved but it depends also on the exact input and output temperatures of the streams which supply the chiller. This deviation is considered acceptable as this new chiller provides a medium sized device that can utilize unused heat in a dairy. The new absorption chiller (Parker, Italy) was demonstrated in a Spanish dairy (Feiraco).

Concentration of milk via membrane filtration:

Applicable membranes and membrane filtration techniques were investigated in order to concentrate milk sufficiently instead of using conventional evaporation techniques. Based on these findings a prototype for milk concentration was designed (Fraunhofer, Germany; Acram, Italy). Applicable components were selected and finally the milk concentration prototype built according to the work plan. Afterwards the milk concentration prototype was demonstrated in a German dairy (Wiegert).

Compared to the state of the art the new system can much easier reach a dry substance concentration in the milk of 30 %. The state of the art with membrane technology is typically 18 % dry substance. In addition, the new system consists of two filtration stages which makes the system on the one hand more efficient and on the other hand enables the dairy to create more selective concentrates with specifically defined compositions.

Potential savings in transportation of milk by concentrating it as well as milk concentrate compositions can be predicted and calculated with the SUSMILK Online Tool (

New concepts for low temperature drying of milk:

A new concept for low temperature drying of milk was investigated in terms of using a belt dryer that uses waste heat of a dairy to dry milk. Generally, it can be concluded that this system is applicable to produce milk powder. In several experimental runs, the dry matter of the resulting milk powder exceeded the qualitative target value of 96 %. This is a promising value. The analysis of the improved dairy scenarios (Deliverable 5.5) has shown that almost all waste heat sources can be utilized in a dairy. However, these scenarios do not cover the integration of a belt dryer, since the generic dairy does not contain milk powder as a product. Still, the new dryer concept is generally working, but further improvements need to be made in order to increase the economic efficiency. The concept of using low temperature waste heat in order to dry milk was approved to be a promising measure.

Waste-stream treatments to save water and/or to produce products (biogas, bioethanol, lactic acid):

The waste-stream treatments were performed in order to save water. In the project comprehensive tests have been carried out to define an applicable membrane treatment to separate the inherent chemicals from CIP waste water in order to reuse them. During this process a considerable amount of water can also be recovered. This is potentially usable for pre-cleaning steps in the dairy, but depends also on the legal specifications of the respective country. The reuse of CIP chemicals is worked out as a concept in SUSMILK that has not been demonstrated. Nevertheless, the findings have been integrated into the SUSMILK Online Tool ( and thus been made available to dairy producers. The objective of saving water can be directly achieved by the proposed concept. Also indirect savings are possible in subsequent wastewater treatment plants when CIP water is reused, but this effect was not extensively evaluated in SUSMILK.

Besides the treatment of CIP water also other wastewaters from dairies have been successfully investigated with regard to their potential conversion into biogas, bioethanol or lactic acid. Here, the technological parameters for an efficient conversion of organic content from dairy wastewaters to high quality biogas have been optimized. Different fermentation strategies for the ethanol production from dairy industry by-products were investigated. The possibility to increase the efficiency of fermentative lactic acid production and recovery using novel acid resistant microorganisms and membrane separation techniques was studied, too. In addition to the envisaged tasks the application of dairy by-products for the development of antimicrobial products for organic cereal grains decontamination was investigated. Finally, an economic evaluation of bioconversion of dairy by-products and wastes to certain chemicals and biogas was made.

The achievement of the objective is displayed by Deliverable 4.4 and Deliverable 4.5. D4.5 is also a public deliverable and is actually a guideline for wastewater treatment for dairies (

Testing in pilot applications under real life conditions:

This objective was also realized during the project lifetime of SUSMILK. The infrastructures of four of the involved dairies (Queizuar, Feiraco, Karwendel, Wiegert) were adapted in order to install the technology prototypes and to test them. The prototypes cover a solar panel + biomass system (Solarfocus), the absorption chiller (Parker), the heat pump (Simaka) and the milk concentration prototype (Acram). The solar panels + biomass heating system was installed first and thus the most comprehensive results were obtained. Especially, the energy and CO2 savings compared to a conventional diesel boiler system have been evaluated. The chiller and the heat pump were also integrated as planned into a running system and worked as envisaged. The milk concentration prototype is a transportable system and during the project the advantage of this was the possibility of testing it also at a different site. Mare milk was also successfully concentrated. Afterwards the milk concentration prototype was tested in a German dairy (Wiegert).

Detailed LCA of the dairy process, decision making tool and "green dairy” plants:

The LCA (WP7), the green dairy model (WP5) and the decision making tool (WP6/WP9) rely on basic reference data that are called generic dairy model (WP1). An intermediate objective is the generic dairy model which was finished and approved in the second project period. Afterwards several scenarios were defined that included diverse combinations of energy saving and renewable technologies on the basis of the generic dairy. Those scenarios have been analyzed by an LCA. During the project it turned out that there is no single green dairy model. Instead, there are many possible scenarios that provide energy savings to different degrees. These scenarios have been carefully investigated (compare Deliverable 5.5) with regard to potential energy savings. As outcome several other recommendations have been found. The simulation in WP6 served as basis for the Green Dairy scenarios.

Also a decision making tool has been developed, but is based on WP6 only partially. During the project lifetime it turned out that it would be more useful to divide the decision making tool into different areas. These are milk concentration, CIP improvements and energy savings ( The energy saving calculator is based on the work from WP6 and focuses only on the heat exchanger network within a dairy. Nevertheless, this online tool gives indications which process adaptions can provide a potential benefit for the dairy (compare Deliverable 9.6).

Exergy-based analysis:

The exergy-based analysis for the dairy industry also used the SUSMILK generic dairy model as a baseline. Exergy analysis was used to investigate and quantify the expected improvement obtainable by different technology combinations. As a conclusion, it was shown that exergy analysis was a key to identifying the maximum possible savings in the investigated dairy. Thus, as planned, no improvement potential in the datasets was overlooked. The exergy analysis shows that up to 75 % of resources (exergy of primary energy) can be saved based on the generic dairy as reference scenario. The applicability of these findings on existing dairies needs to be checked individually. A checklist for boundary conditions has been provided in the WP7 reports.

Project Results:
In this section the main results from the SUSMILK (Re-design of the dairy industry for sustainable milk processing) project are described. The main objective of SUSMILK was to provide technologies and concepts to save water and energy in the dairy industry. The envisaged goal was to achieve a total reduction of 50 % of used energy and 30 % of used water. To achieve and to evaluate this many intermediate results were necessary and worked out which are described in the following.

Generic Dairy:

The first obstacles appeared, because breaking it down to only these two numbers (average energy and average water consumption) is almost impossible. The dairy industry is not a uniform industry that can be described always in the same way. The size of a dairy ranges from family-owned dairies with a processing capacity of 10,000 liters of milk per day up to several hundred thousand liters of processed milk per day in big industrial dairies (e.g. 600,000 L/d). Furthermore, the dairy industry produces many different products: milk, low fat milk, cream, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, milk powder, concentrated milk, butter, curd, ...

Although there are these differences the processes within a dairy are often quite similar: separation, pasteurization, homogenization, heating, cooling and finally cleaning at least on a daily basis.

This offered the possibility to design a generic dairy model in SUSMILK that can be used as reference scenario for all proposed concepts and technologies and that guarantees a transferability of the results to the industry. Simultaneously the effectiveness of the technologies and concepts can be evaluated on a common basis. It is assumed that the generic dairy is located in Oberhausen (Germany), processes 600,000 liters of cow milk (618.4 t/d) per day with an operating time of 20 h, and in addition performs cleaning in place (CIP) operations for 4 h. The raw milk is transported by six trucks that have a capacity of 25 tons each, and are fueled by diesel and travel four times a day to cover a distance of 150 km between the farm and the dairy (600 km per day and truck in total).

The generic dairy plant produces ultra-high-temperature (UHT) treated milk, natural yogurt, cream and concentrated milk. Cottage cheese, which was suggested as another possible product in deliverable D1.1, is not included in the generic model due to the lack of accurate data to estimate the flows of energy and mass that characterize its production process. Losses of milk that may occur during processing, which may represent around 1 % of raw milk (European Commission, Joint Research Center 2006), were neglected.

All relevant material and energy flows of the generic dairy are summarized. Thus by implementing a certain technology it can be assessed what savings can be achieved in general. These results are generally transferable to real dairies, but need to be checked individually, if significant differences compared to the generic dairy occur. This model is intended to be used as a reference scenario to study the effect of integrating some of the innovative technologies to be studied within the framework of SUSMILK: alternative technologies for heating and refrigeration. Waste heat, in particular from flue gas and refrigeration units, can be used as heat source for the heat pump (Simaka) or absorption chiller (Parker) developed within SUSMILK. The outcomes are summarized extensively in the public deliverable 1.2 (

Green Dairy:

At the beginning of the project the envisaged goal was to develop a theoretical Green Dairy that shows an optimized usage of advanced technologies in order to save water and energy as much as possible. As described previously it is impossible to compile all technologies in a comprehensible way in a single dairy model. Thus in SUSMILK several Green Dairy scenarios have been proposed which contain all different combinations of advanced (SUSMILK) technologies and were analyzed with regard to potential savings. The product portfolio of the Generic Dairy as well as all Green Dairy scenarios is identical, because changes in the portfolio would result in different utilities. The outcomes are summarized extensively in the public deliverable 5.5 (

Most innovative technologies are only green under certain conditions. Therefore it was necessary to review the available “green” technologies in detail. Drawing up a “green” plant required an iterative and an expert approach with a strong analytical side.

An overall concept for dairies was developed to obtain a sustainable, environmentally-benign and an energy-efficient food production. Therefore the collected data from WP1 was used to develop a scheme of an average dairy (SUSMILK Generic Dairy). An alternative concept shows the developed ”green dairy” were all existing efficient and renewable energy technologies are integrated in such a way that the resource consumption of the dairy is minimized. The technologies that were covered included CHP (both by using a steam turbine with an attached electricity generator and internal combustion engine (ICE)), heat pumps, heat recovery, solar energy for heating and/or cooling, thermal energy storage, energy savings (where applicable) and recycling of wastewaters (aiming energy saving).

As a standard, electrically powered compression refrigeration systems were used for the generation of refrigeration. Nowadays, a compression chiller is increasingly cost expensive. An absorption chiller could be a cost-efficient alternative, which eventually could be powered by waste heat. Cooling needs were assessed and within the green dairy concept the SUSMILK absorption chiller was provided. The absorption chiller can use heat from different sources including solar collectors, CHP systems, heat pumps and waste heat.

Although solar thermal collectors are available that can provide the needed temperature level, the optimal integration into dairies was studied and it is also presented in this report. However, to combine solar collectors with the thermal dairy demand not all available solar energy was able to be used due to concurrent heat recovery options.

Generally, heat pumps can provide a displacement of more than 4 heat units per unit of electricity, depending on the temperature difference between the hot and cold sources. Although heat pumps are well-established technological components, additional requirements must be fulfilled to adapt this equipment to the demands of milk processing and to meet the specific requirements for a “green dairy”.

The decrease/replacement of steam as heat transfer medium for high temperature processes (e.g. for UHT processes) was not considered due to the development of special heat collectors that fit into the infrastructure of a dairy. In addition, this subject was out of the scope of the project. Thus, steam was replaced, where possible, by hot water in flows with temperature up to 98 °C.

The solar thermal collectors are also a well-known technology, nevertheless, due to solar energy uncertainty some thermal storage was considered in the form of hot water storage tanks (this allowed to stabilize the hot water streams and provided some hourly storage of thermal energy) in order to increase solar energy benefits. This produce benefits in primary energy demand.

To design a “green” dairy several technologies and settings are considered, although not all of them were considered at once. Thus, 6 different scenarios were defined by the SUSMILK consortium to be used as reference cases and 3 additional scenarios were defined by LNEG modelling team (noted with *) . The conducted simulations were carried out with the software tool TRNSYS.

The scenarios are:

1.0: CHP with boiler and turbine will try to cover 90 % heat demand and 10 % are covered by old boiler. Cooling demand will be 100 % covered by electrical chillers. CHP will be sized for thermal demand.

1.1: As above but 90 % of cooling demand will be covered by absorption chillers and 10 % by compression chillers.

2.0H: CHP with an ICE will try to cover 90 % heat demand and 10 % are covered by old boiler. Cooling demand will be 100 % covered by electrical chillers. CHP will be sized for thermal demand.

2.0E *: CHP with an ICE will try to cover 90 % heat demand and 10 % are covered by old boiler. Cooling demand will be 100 % covered by electrical chillers. CHP will be sized for electrical demand.

2.1: As above but 90 % of cooling demand will be covered by absorption chillers and 10 % by compression chillers. CHP will be sized for thermal demand.

3.0: Maximum waste heat reuse integrating flat plate solar col-lectors, gas-driven heat pumps and a boiler. This scenario includes absorption chillers.

3.0 EC *: As above but with electric chillers

3.1: As above but with concentrating (CPC) solar collectors.

3.2 *: As above but with evacuated tube (ETC) solar collectors.

The results for the 9 scenarios yielded at 35 % savings. Additional 4 scenarios were produced and 46% savings were found, but only when the dairy is located preferably in Spain due to the bigger solar irradiation. Finally, it is now possible to propose some technologies to upgrade a generic dairy towards the green dairy concept. Also other improvement potentials have been defined. The outcomes of these investigations contain recommendations for the dairy industry in general, but an individual check is still unavoidable.

Life Cycle Assessment:

Within the SUSMILK project, a detailed model for energy and material flows in a dairy was developed (Generic Dairy model). The LCA conducted by ESU-services identified the relevance of energy and water uses in different process stages in a dairy from an environmental point of view. It also showed the potential of improvement options to reduce the impact of heat, cooling and electricity demand. The LCA results including a description of the goal and scope are published in the public deliverable 7.3 ( For the analysis of improvement options, data from project partners was collected. This life cycle inventory analysis is documented in the confidential deliverable 7.2. The LCI data is a foreground of the project that was not existent to this extent before.

The environmental impact of dairy processing from cradle to dairy gate was analyzed with 15 environmental impact categories (recommended by European authorities) and with the cumulative exergy demand. The following 15 category indicators/impact categories were studied: (1) climate change; (2) ozone depletion; (3) human toxicity; (4) particulate matter; (5) ionizing radiation; (6) photochemical ozone formation; (7) acidification; (8) – (10) terrestrial, freshwater and marine eutrophication; (11) freshwater ecotoxicity; (12) land use; (13) water depletion; (14) abiotic resource depletion; and (15) cumulative exergy demand.

In addition, the results obtained for each impact category were aggregated into a single score by applying normalization and weighting. In normalization, a result obtained for a certain impact category was divided by a reference value. In weighting, the result for a particular impact category was multiplied by a factor to express the relative importance (based on subjective values or other factors such as the reliability of the impact category) of each of the impact categories considered. Two tailored approaches for weighting were considered. The LCIA is described in detail in Del. 7.3 ( The purpose of this methodology is to provide a project specific normalization and weighting of potential impacts calculated according to the ILCD recommendations for LCIA. All recommendations are based on both result types.

The major impact of dairy products is due to the production of raw milk (about 80 %). For the analysis done in this project this was not the focus of investigation. But, dairies also have an influence on these impacts, e.g. by reducing the amount of raw milk and other losses of dairy products.

The best way to decrease the environmental impact of heat, cooling and electricity demand is the reduction of the needed amount, as an example with a clever process design and the integration of heat exchangers.

The next best way is the integration of improvement options that substitute conventional energy delivery. The options developed in this project can lead to significant reductions of environmental impacts of dairy operation. In spite of optimizing only the generic dairy part, the investigated improvement scenarios can lead to a reduction of about 25 % for the total impacts of dairy operation (excluding the raw milk input) from the environmental and exergy point of view. If only technologies developed within the SUSMILK project are considered, the possible reduction of environmental impacts is a bit lower and amounts to only 10 % to 20 %.

It has to be considered that a major share of these environmental impacts is not influenced by the considered improvement options (e.g. the whole delivery of raw milk to the plant, the use of chemicals or the treatment of effluents). The analysis thus shows that the savings can be even more significant if further improvement aspects of the dairy supply chain are analyzed in detail.

Exergy-based analysis:

The exergy-based analysis was carried out in order to analyze possible improvement options by considering a different approach. Exergy includes energy and therefore builds on it. While energy is the property used for definition of the first law of thermodynamics (energy conservation), exergy also includes aspects of the second law of thermodynamics (natural entropy increase). Thus exergy is the more comprehensive property. In fact if people talk of energy they often mean exergy, since energy can only be transformed but not lost while exergy can be destroyed. The strength of the exergy concept lies in being the superior analytical property for efficiency assessments and technology comparison.

However, since exergy is a combined property (of energy and entropy) it is not suitable by itself for plant or technology design and thus cannot fully replace energy analysis. It is also more difficult to use exergy for dynamic analysis as its calculation requires more input parameters and a more complex modeling.

The exergy analysis of the improvement scenarios has shown that a generalized answer to the best solution cannot be given, since it largely depends on the demand characteristic of the considered dairy.

However, the process analysis clearly showed that a standard dairy can be expected to have significant improvement potential in a variety of areas. It also demonstrates that even if no energy is lost, exergy analysis can help to find and quantify significant inefficiencies.

The scenario analysis demonstrated that some technologies promise significantly lower resource consumption and operation costs than the standard technologies assumed for the SUSMILK Generic Dairy. Combinations of these technologies have been investigated and it has been found that options based on a highly efficient CHP unit promise to deliver the largest savings in terms of resources, operation costs and environmental impacts. In general the following recommendations can be given for dairy improvements from an exergy-based point of view:

1. Assess the energy and mass flows in the dairy as good as possible and include temperature, mixture and pressure data. Thorough data collection allows a detailed optimization of the process.

2. Optimize your heat exchanger network so that the temperature differences are minimal and heat recovery is maximized. This increases exergy efficiency and can lay the basis for a better adapted heat supply scheme.

3. Use the waste heat from chillers and other processes as good as possible for preheating in order to minimize the demand for heating with additional resources. This requires precise knowledge of the heat demands and waste heat sources in the dairy.

4. Look for possibilities to utilize free cooling using ambient air or well water. This can significantly improve the efficiency of the dairy. Cover the rest of the cooling with highly efficient compression chillers if no waste heat above 92 °C is available in excess. If it is, consider using an absorption chiller.

5. Consider using alternative heat generation technologies such as highly efficient CHP units, natural gas heat pumps or solar thermal panels (on the roof). They can help to significantly reduce resource demand and operation costs.

6. Assess the energy demand for compressed air and consider reduction options such as exchanging pneumatic equipment for electrical equipment, since compressed air is usually generated inefficiently.

7. Ensure that the optimization of your dairy is done correctly and comprehensively. Consider contracting experienced energy technology analysts who include exergy analysis. They can help to ensure a high quality improvement strategy. You can expect resource and costs savings of operation in the order of magnitude of 50 % from optimizing your energy system based on exergy.

The single technology analysis shows that the technologies that have been developed by the SUSMILK partners all can contribute to significant improvements. However, they can only contribute to savings if certain boundary conditions are met.

The results for the exergy optimized dairy are robust, so that the recommendations given should be valid for at least the next two decades. The results of the exergy-based analysis are presented in more detail in the public deliverable 7.3 (

Heat pump:

Typically, industrial processes use fossil-based sources to generate the process heat required for hot water and steam production. In addition, a typical dairy process also requires refrigeration systems, where substantial amount of recoverable waste heat is plainly rejected to the environment. Heat pumps can potentially be used to recover this waste heat and reuse it e.g. to produce process hot water. In doing so, heat pumps can allow for reducing the dependence on the amount of primary energy (largely fossil based) required for heating. As in dairies a lot of heat is used and thus potentially waste heat or unused heat sources exist, an integration of a heat pump should help to minimize such losses. So, waste heat is recovered and process heat is produced. As an additional feature a heat pump also cools simultaneously another stream down. Thus also some cooling capacity, which is also vital in a dairy, is provided without further devices.

In SUSMILK the developed heat pump has some features that are beyond the state-of-the-art. Currently the operational costs for a standard compression heat pump are increasing as electric energy prices are also increasing. Thus in SUSMILK the idea came up to substitute the electric motor by a gas engine, because there are significant price differences between electricity and gas rates. Thus a gas engine driven heat pump can become an economic choice. Furthermore, this feature is beneficial, because dairies often have already a cogeneration unit, which is also supported by gas.

The SUSMILK heat pump has also another innovative element. An automatic oil changing system has been developed. Thus the maintenance efforts can be significantly reduced and a smooth running system is guaranteed without possible failures caused by untrained people.

The heat pump was designed for a maximum output temperature of 120 °C. This is a temperature level that could replace partly the steam production within the dairy and that can be achieved in general. Nevertheless, in SUSMILK an operating point of 65 °C/60 °C (waste heat) to 70 °C/90 °C (useful heat) was chosen, because this was a demand that could be realized within the demonstration site with the biggest benefits.

The heat pump is designed to be operated throughout the year, i.e., 8,600 hours and will be able to recover 80 % of the available waste heat with rated heating power of 215 kW at 95 °C. The coefficient of performance (COP) of the heat pump is 2.69.

The heat pumps are assumed to be integrated at different locations within the dairy. The simple payback period on investing in heat pumps to upgrade and utilize the available waste heat is 1.8 years (or) 21.6 months. The economic assessment is also available in the public deliverable 7.3 (

Considering the simultaneous cooling capacity of 142.3 kW which corresponds to a COP for cooling of 1.78 the combined COP of the heat pump is 4.47. This makes the new heat pump an interesting module for dairies in order to reduce their energy consumption.

Absorption chiller:

Contrary to conventional chillers such as electric compression chillers, which use mechanical energy, absorption chillers generate the cooling effect by utilizing heat. Therefore, in SUSMILK a new absorption chiller was developed to exploit potentially available waste heat to cater the cooling needs of the dairy. In advance to the development it has been identified that a medium capacity of approx. 50 kW is desirable to address many different dairies throughout Europe. Only capacities of 10 kW or 100 kW were available on the market so far.

The chiller works most sufficiently when waste heat above 98 °C is available (e.g. from flue gas). The absorption chiller preferably uses high-temperature waste heat of 98 °C to cool down water from 12 °C to 4 °C. The chiller uses a LiBr/H2O mixture. Also a thermodynamic design for a NH3/water mixture was made, but skipped to avoid uncertainties of dairies to use a technology that contains a harmful substance like ammonia. LiBr is not critical to that extend and thus an easier uptake of this chiller in the European dairy industry is expected.

The cold to heat ratio of 0.66 allows supplying 20 % of the cooling demand of a dairy (based on the generic dairy model conditions) by using the absorption chiller.

For the economic assessment the following assumptions were made.

1. Only "waste steam" or "waste hot water" at temperature above 98 °C is utilized

2. No additional heat (steam or hot water) is generated just to feed the absorption chiller

3. Excess cooling demand that which is not delivered by the absorption chiller is covered with conventional chillers.

4. A considerable difference in utility cost (electricity vs fuel cost) is assumed. This makes a case for absorption chillers against electric cooling.

5. The primary operating power behind the absorption cooling process is the heat fed to the absorption unit. Electric power is required only to a small extent for the operation of the solution pump.

The absorption chiller is designed to be operated throughout the year, i.e., 8,600 hours and with cooling capacity of 50 kW. The simple payback period on investing in absorption chillers to the available waste heat for generating the required cooling demand is 1.9 years (or) 22.8 months. This makes the new absorption chiller an interesting module for dairies in order to reduce their energy consumption. The economic assessment is also available in the public deliverable 7.3 (

Pellet and solar heat system:

In SUSMILK also the integration of a combined pellet and solar system into dairies was tested in order to increase the amount of renewable energy. The integration into a dairy made it necessary to develop solar heat panels that are producing heat at a more preferable level of 150 °C. Thus generally this could replace steam production in the dairy directly. This goal has been achieved in SUSMILK.

Besides the process technologies discussed above, additional demonstration studies were conducted to provide 24 hour heat supply with an installation of solar collector field in combination with a biomass pellet boiler. The installation aims to replace the currently used diesel boiler with a capacity of 520 kW with a biomass pellet boiler with a power of 70 kW in combination with solar thermal collectors on the roof with a collector area of 56 m². The plant data for this demonstration unit was collected over a full year period to evaluate seasonal effects on overall performance of the system. Therefore, in order to assess this technology economic calculations were made for the installed pellet-solar system demonstration unit at the existing Queizuar plant in northern Spain.

The pellet-solar system is designed to be operated throughout the year, i.e., 8,600 hours. While this system operates as a whole, the pellet boiler however supplements the needed heat demand for that which could not be supplied by the solar collector. For economic calculations the full load hours was assumed to be split evenly. The pellet boiler has an energy efficiency related to the lower heating value of wood pellets of 90 %. The pellet solar system generated about 123,000 kWh of thermal energy during its operation in one year, where according to the first measurements the solar collectors contributed about 13,500 kWh (SolarFocus). This delivered an annual monetary savings of around € 4,000 for switching from diesel to biomass pellets (SolarFocus).

The economic assessment and the payback period for the real life installation of a pellet-solar system in Spain in the Queizuar plant were calculated. The simple payback period on investing in this pellet-solar system to generate heat from renewable sources is 6 years. The economic assessment is also available in the public deliverable 7.3 (

In addition to the already mentioned foreground above also two other significant results were worked out. One result relates to optimized hybrid systems (pellets + solar) that take a weather forecast into account. In such systems the heat is produced by a pellet boiler when no sun is shining. Besides the common and scheduled day/night changes the pellet boiler is maybe also needed during the day, when severe weather conditions inhibit enough solar irradiation. This could change several times the day. Conventional systems have controllers that switch the function when the actual and desired temperature levels are reached or are below a certain limit. When the weather changes very often during the day this change could happen quite often leading to an increased fuel consumption of the pellet boiler, but also to an insufficient use of available solar irradiation. By taking weather forecast data into account the hybrid system could work more smoothly resulting in an overall more efficient system. Therefore a software was developed in SUSMILK by Solarfocus, which realizes the integration of weather forecast data.

Another result is the remote app mySOLARFOCUS which is a software that helps the user to connect the heating systems easily with smartphones or tablets. Without this app usually it needs a lot of user-knowledge to implement a safe connection to the heating system. The app makes it much easier and shows the user the most important information. One very important function is the trend of how much thermal solar energy was gained over one day, month, week or even year. The potential impact is difficult to put into numbers, but the app is very important to get the people to think more about energy savings and how much energy can be gained with solar thermal collectors. If the consumption for heating and domestic hot water is known and showed in an easy attractive way, the user tries to optimize his system to save even more energy.

Milk concentration:

Within SUSMILK an innovative and advanced milk concentration unit based on membrane technology has been developed. There are several needs why this technology had to be improved. There is generally an increasing need for specialized products in the dairy industry and well as for standardized products. This can be generally achieved by milk concentration. In addition the average transport distance of raw milk is up to 100 km. Due to reducing the milk volume by concentration potentially a significant number of transportation trucks can be saved.

The new system consists of a two stage filtration. The first stage is an ultrafiltration and the second stage a nanofiltration unit. Each stage can filter the milk separately or both are used subsequently. Thus different concentrate compositions can be realized that could have a defined composition. At least a dry substance of 26 % was continuously realized during the demonstration, but also dry substance concentrates in the range of 30 % are possible. The possible maximum dry substances in filtration concentrates are limited by the osmotic pressure. For example, at 15 % dry substance the osmotic pressure is 14 bar. This means that at least 14 bar have to be applied in the filtration unit to reach at least 15 % dry substance. 25 % dry substance relate to an osmotic pressure of 28 bar and for 30 % DS respectively to 38 bar. This illustrates that the new concentration prototype is able to work a higher operational pressures than usually available when it comes to milk concentration.

The concentration of milk by membranes offers besides the reduced volume for transportation the possibility to reduce the energy significantly for producing milk powders by evaporation from concentrates, because already a significant amount of water has been removed.

Interested users can assess with the SUSMILK Online Tool ( what kind of concentrates can be produced for them. The calculations are based on the findings of SUSMILK. Within the public deliverable 9.6 (Online calculator instrument) also the possibilities of calculation are explained (

Another foreground that arouse from the milk concentration trials was that the analysis of the concentrates showed partly better milk characteristics as the original skim milk. The improved characteristics are related to the cheese making process for example. With the improved characteristics it is expected to improve and control the cheese making process better yielding to higher yield accompanied by a higher efficiency. Processing losses are expected to decrease and thus reducing the environmental impact of the conventional cheese production. This foreground is still in the development stage and was an unexpected side effect when working on the milk concentration process.

CIP recycling:

Cleaning-in-Place (CIP) systems are used in the dairy industry. With regard to scientific results emphasis was put on the recovery of the washing solution of CIP systems via membrane technology. All improvements are based on the lab-scale experiments carried out by Fraunhofer, a literature search and calculations based on the experimental data as well as real data from project partners Ad Imlek and FINS.

The major part of the pollution caused by dairy industries comes from their cleaning in place systems (more than 40 %). The effluents of waste streams from milk and dairy processing possess polluting charges of 0.2-2.5 g L-1 BOD. Moreover increasing costs of wastewater treatment and evolution of waste discharge regulations should make regeneration of CIP wastewater a compulsory process, not only within food industry. In these context membrane filtrations seems to be the most perspective and promising technique for the recovery of CIP solutions.

Fraunhofer assessed the recovery rate of NaOH from wastewater solutions and the overall efficiency of recovering this chemical as well as the recycling of water by experiments. The proposed recovery units are single stage CIP recovery units suitable for a small, medium and big dairy as well as a multi-stage CIP recovery unit within a medium dairy. The technology is to be used in dairies that have lost CIP solutions. The evaluation involved NaOH as the sole recovered detergent. Costs for fresh water, wastewater disposal, and energy and NaOH solution as the CIP chemical were estimated. Based on these investigations the following results were concluded.

A recovery unit is a preferably option for dairies that are working with lost CIP solutions.

Re-use of permeate has to be confirmed with the local water law regulations. In most countries, COD in water for pre-washing purposes cannot exceed 2 mg/L. Nevertheless, the CIP wastewater post membrane filtration can be drained direct to the discharge, without an additional treatment. This decreases costs and environmental impact of the dairy significantly.

A CIP chemical recovery unit for NaOH has a payback period of less than 9 months even for small dairies. For bigger dairies the economic advantage becomes even bigger and the payback period for a recovery unit is far below the prospected 9 months. But these calculations are highly dependent on the price for the recovered chemical. Furthermore, the calculations have many parameters to adjust. Some parameters are already implemented in the online tool (deliverable 9.6, which was developed in SUSMILK, but in general a useable tool based on Excel® is available at Fraunhofer. This allows individual calculations on request.

Waste(water) treatment:

In SUSMILK the intention was to improve the wastewater treatment of a dairy. The main focus of the concept was on proposing possible and feasible options how wastewater can be treated in a way in order to produce a valuable product as biogas, bioethanol or lactic acid. During these investigations several scientific results have been made that contribute to different areas of waste water treatment. All findings are summarized and step by step in the following. In addition the main results are summarized in the public deliverable 4.5 “Guidelines for wastewater treatment” which is also accessible via the SUSMILK project website (

The wastewater from the dairy processing contains mainly diluted milk or milk products (organic compounds), normally constituted by a combination of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. The principal groups of organic substances found in this wastewater are proteins (40 to 60 %), carbohydrates and lactose (25 to 50 %), and fats and oils (10 to 20 %), bringing significant loads in untreated wastewater in regard to organic content.

A substantial portion of the organics found in dairy wastewater consists of biodegradable materials which serve as food sources for bacteria and other micro-organisms, causing immediate and high oxygen demand (in anaerobic conditions), forming a heavy black sludge and causing strong butyric acid odors.

Foreground: Dairy wastewater sampling

Taking into account the high variability of dairy processing wastewater in regard to its volume and composition, it is important to obtain samples that faithfully represent the pollutant characteristics using qualified personnel and adequate sampling equipment. All samples obtained for analysis must be collected from a point in the stream (e.g. wastewater and CIP) that is representative of the whole composition. A sampling program requires a good understanding of the spatial and temporal distribution of the indicator and its physical and chemical behavior. A standardized sampling procedure for dairy wastewater did not exist before.

For the measurement and record of the wastewater flow, as well as for the collection of representative samples of wastewater, a monitoring and sampling system should be used. It combines an ultra-sonic flow meter, placed over a triangular weir or a Parshall flume, coupled to a converter and register allowing a continuous measurement of the wastewater flow. This device is connected to an automatic sampler. In the same manhole are installed temperature, conductivity and pH sensors. All the data are acquired by a Logger apparatus or sent to computer.

Care must be taken in the field to avoid that samples will be not contaminated and do not degrade during collection and the time of analysis. A protocol for sample handling has been established by Institute for Food Technology (FINS) of the University of Novi Sad (Serbia) in the framework of SUSMILK project, in order to obtain, preserve and deliver samples of wastewater for analysis in a standard way. The protocol is a compilation of common laboratory practices and specific handling techniques in order to achieve the planned objectives of SUSMILK.

Foreground: Biogas and lactic acid production

SUSMILK focused on the optimization of the technological parameters for the efficient conversion of organic content from dairy wastewater to high quality biogas and evaluation of novel tools, such as acid tolerant antimicrobial lactic acid bacteria (LAB), for efficient cheese whey/permeate utilization to lactic acid and improvement of its recovery by using membrane filtration techniques. The economical evaluation of biogas production from dairy wastewater and fermentative lactic acid production from dairy by-products has been accomplished.

Dairy wastewater treatment with an antimicrobial LAB (acetogenesis), the use of anaerobic sludge and biogas alkaline treatment (methanogenesis) as well as optimized temperature and time of methanogenesis increased the biogas purity and decreased the BOD to COD ratio to values <60 %.

Acid tolerant LAB lead to a lower content of calcium sulfate (gypsum), due to neutralization process, that creates the problems for the environment. Fermentation experiments strongly indicate the importance of proteolytic activity of tested microorganisms, which influences the formation of precipitate aggregates in permeate and positively affects the membrane separation process.

The developed concept of conversion of dairy wastes into high quality biogas was defined. It has a positive effect for dairies through providing energy, environmental and economic benefits by reducing the cost of waste disposal and producing potentially a new product.

The findings are accessible to a certain extend via the public deliverable 4.5 “Guidelines for wastewater treatment” (

Foreground: Application of antimicrobial dairy by-products

The possible application of the antimicrobial products based on fermented dairy by-products for decontamination of cereal grains has been evaluated. The experiment was mainly focused on finding a strategy to enlarge the application of dairy by products as fermentation media by development antimicrobial products for organic farming and food production.

The grain treatment with bioproduct based on whey permeate could significantly increase grain resistance to fungal infection and reduce the DON concentration in malting wheat up to 67 % as well as increase the germination energy of wheat grain contaminated with Fusarium spp. in average by 7.5 %.

Foreground: Bioethanol production

Carbohydrate rich effluents can be suitable for ethanol production, helping to fulfill the EU energy target (5 % of biofuel in 2020). In SUSMILK the use of membrane concentrate of dairy wastewaters from the dairy industry for production of bioethanol was investigated. To achieve this goal, two major approaches were followed: i) yeast selection/screening (of natural lactose-fermenting yeasts); ii) metabolic engineering (construction of recombinant S. cerevisiae strains).

In the first approach, strains of natural lactose-fermenting yeasts of Kluyveromyces lactis (Kl) and K. marxianus (Km) were selected from yeast culture collections for screening in media with lactose (the main sugar present in dairy wastewaters), glucose or galactose (the mono-saccharides resulting from lactose hydrolysis), analyzing the strains behavior, namely growth rates, sugar consumption and ethanol production.

The second approach, involved the metabolic engineering of S. cerevisiae strains in order to improve galactose transport and consequently co-consumption of galactose and glucose. Recombinant S. cerevisiae strains are under construction with over-expression of glucose/galactose native transporters and/or metabolic regulators (Gal4, a regulator of the genes involved in galactose utilization); heterologous expression of beta-galactosidases and/or lactose transporters from Kluyveromyces spp. strains.

The use S. cerevisiae strains relates with the ability of these strains to produce ethanol with higher sugars into ethanol conversion. Fermentative behaviors of strains selected from both approaches were compared in dairy concentrate wastewaters to select the best fermentative strain.

The evaluated indirect fermentation strategy leads to the production of up to 36 % higher ethanol concentration. From an economic point of view the direct fermentation method should be preferred for bioconversion of whey permeate to bioethanol because of 20 % lower operating costs and higher „greeness“ of the bioethanol processing.

The findings are accessible to a certain extend via the public deliverable 4.5 “Guidelines for wastewater treatment” (

Foreground: Hydrogen production

Hydrogen is a promising fuel with most technical, socio-economic and environmental benefits. In fact, hydrogen has the highest energy content per unit weight of any known fuel (142 kJ/g).

Conclusions: The results obtained demonstrated the feasibility of bio-hydrogen generation from dairy wastewater treatment by dark fermentation, with promising bio-hydrogen production yields and purity with a view to achieving further optimization tests. More details can’t be provided here.

The findings are accessible to a certain extend via the public deliverable 4.5 “Guidelines for wastewater treatment” (

Foreground: Microparticulation of whey as waste stream

First the objective and context of the research is explained. Whey is the liquid remaining after almost complete casein removal from milk. Thus it is the natural by-product of cheese manufacturing. The estimated world’s whey protein production exceeds 0.5 million tons annually. The composition of whey varies depending on the method of cheese production. Whey proteins already have been recognized as a valuable source of essential amino acids, and present an exclusive nutritional and physiologically functional supplement, better than any other known dietary protein.

Until recently the disposal of whey was one of the major environmental problems. The use of whey for industrial processing was initially dedicated to whey powder and whey protein concentrates. Nowadays, a process called microparticulation that offers additional advantages was developed.

The microparticulation of whey proteins is a technique that allows a valorization of the frequently lost proteins in whey from dairy, using cyclical process that provides improved by-products without generating waste. With this technology the project seeks, on one side, to achieve the maximum benefit of the whey components obtained from the production of milk through the reintegration of these components to the production process and, on the other side, to achieve a by-product rich in lactose that can be valued afterwards.

The following main goals were envisaged.

- Optimization of the microparticulation to the whey concentrated by tangential filtration.

- Optimization of the parameters affecting the microparticulated behavior of the food matrix: whey composition (WPC pH), treatment temperature and holding time.

- Application of microparticulation on different dairy products to improve the organoleptic properties and the texture, as well as the performance of production process.

The most relevant results are.

- Microparticulation technology allows incorporating whey proteins to dairy products and cheese manufacturing, creating a new alternative lactose-rich by-product.

- Optimized microparticulation generates proteins aggregates with a similar size to fat globules, to be incorporated into the cheese matrix, reducing the fat content in the product.

- The incorporation of microparticulated protein to pressed paste (uncooked) cheese allows recovering more than 74 % of the whey proteins.

- The net benefits from implementation of the proposed process compensate the costs for the application of this new technology.

The findings are accessible to a certain extend via the public deliverable 4.5 “Guidelines for wastewater treatment” (


GreenDairyNet platform is a tool that has been created by FEUGA in collaboration with Food Processing Initiative and T2i. It is an open innovation platform for a resource efficient dairy sector. Its main objective is to animate the dairy sector in order to create new contacts and initiatives among experts and stakeholders interested in a sustainable development of the European dairy industry. The platform offers an easy exchange of contacts among users (transnational relations are facilitated to establish new collaborations), as well as information about initiatives, technologies and events (innovative developments in the dairy sector are shared depending on the participating users). The privacy of relationships and the creation of trust groups are ensured. The GreenDairyNet is an open innovation platform for a resource efficient dairy sector.

The GreenDairyNet is accessible under


Many results and technological developments were created by SUSMILK. Each result and technology is a piece in the puzzle towards a more sustainable dairy processing sector. The contribution of each module has been analyzed by overall assessments and comprehensible modelling. As outcome several documents and tools were made public in order to help the dairy sector to implement more sustainable concepts and technologies ( d;;

Potential Impact:

The overall aim of the dissemination and exploitation activities was to guarantee an effective and efficient dissemination and exploitation of project results towards the different target groups food industry, researchers, policy makers, and public more general. For this reason a strategy was drafted to establish the overall “road to successful dissemination” and to provide guidance for all partners and parties involved.

Similar to communication processes, dissemination should not be made more difficult and complex as it mostly already is. To keep it simple the following dissemination mission in a nutshell was introduced: INSPIRE! This stands for:

• Invent new technologies and solutions.

• Network with communities to share and valorize your knowledge.

• Specify your targets and your target groups.

• Produce straight messages to reach your (communication) goals.

• Inspire people with new ideas.

• Respect the IPR of other people.

• Explore new business opportunities.

With regard to food industry it is of highest interest, that new knowledge generated from the project is applied and innovative technologies and processes are implemented. Only then the targeted contributions to strengthen the competitiveness of food industry and to resource efficient food production can be achieve. From this background the key questions to be answered by the dissemination strategy were as follows:

1. How can the actors of the target groups most efficiently be reached?

2. How can the communication between actors be stimulated and therefore the implementation of innovative solutions beyond the lifetime of the project facilitated?

To guarantee an effective and efficient dissemination of new knowledge to the different target groups, it was essential

• to deliver results (messages) that are relevant for the target group,

• to format the messages so that the target group is able and willing to listen,

• to find the best communication channels to get access to decision makers.

A framework that outlines the elements and relations affecting the knowledge dissemination as a process was developed. This simple framework offered a guide for structuring the dissemination activities for SUSMILK.

Starting from the knowledge providers, SUSMILK had an excellent situation in the project, that researchers, technology providers and dairy producers are working together on the development AND the implementation of innovative and resource efficient solutions. This close collaboration between the “sender” and the “receiver” opened a perfect setting for dissemination, as the results from the project already are tailored to the needs of the end-users. Consequently the likelihood of applying the new knowledge is quite high.

Generally speaking two main innovation drivers were identified:

• Demand pulled innovations coming from legislations and standards on the one hand, and market and trend induced innovations.

• Technology pushed innovations: new inventions and technologies from R&D and technology providers like machinery supply, packaging, logistics, IT solution providers, or ingredient companies.

Taking a closer look at – specifically for SUSMILK project relevant – technology driven innovations, it is important to understand the main drivers of the different actors:

1. Researchers: - invention & validation of new concepts & processes; - development and testing of lab scale facilities

2. Technology suppliers: - take up and up-scale new processes; - identify market needs and customers (early adopters; food producers); - develop markets for new technologies

3. Food producers: - apply new technologies & processes ; - develop markets for new products; - contribute to sustainability by implementing resource efficient processes in food production; - reduce costs of production; - improve food safety & quality

From this perspective the dissemination strategy could be considered as “blue print” for similar technology focused projects targeting industry and stakeholders in the food industry. Consequently two of the main factors for an efficient and effective dissemination of project results are:

• Early and constant involvement of all partners in the dissemination strategy development and implementation; during all the partner meetings presentations on this topics were included followed by discussions among partners.

• Collaboration with other projects and branch associations, mainly from the dairy sector. Via these channels a large number of stakeholders and actors of the dairy chain in Europe and beyond were reached.

Right from the start Enthalpy and EnReMilk were invited to establish collaborative activities which was well appreciated and accepted. Sharing project information and results in the respective newsletters as well as presentations at projects events were major outcomes. Besides, a close collaboration with the FP7 project TRADEIT was established with several presentations at events. Moreover an information exchange with the projects SmartRipe and Safetypack was agreed and the projects are linked on the websites.

Next to collaborations with dairy associations on national level, SUSMILK also collaborates with the International Dairy Federation. The WP9 team has been involved in the dissemination of project objectives and results since the participation in the World Dairy Summit in Vilnius in September 15 and, again, in the World Dairy Summit 2016 held in Rotterdam in October 16. In 2016 SUSMILK activities have been discussed also with IDF Standing Committee on Environment (SCEnv) and IDF Science and Programme Coordination Committee (SPCC) in order to look at the SUSMILK “green dairy” model as a possible technology approach within the Dairy Sustainability Framework. As a result, two IDF representatives have been involved as keynote speakers in the SUSMILK final conference in Santiago in September 16 to link common initiatives on dairy sustainability.

The implementation and introduction of the online platform GreenDairy.Net, the online calculator for a first economic assessment for interested companies, videos as well as the final conference to present the SUSMILK results can be considered as the highlights of the dissemination activities.


FEUGA, as responsible of the launching and operation of the tool, together with WP 9 partner T2i and FPI developed and established the open innovation platform GreenDairy.Net.

The open innovation tool proposes an innovative way to inform the stakeholders about the project progress, based on to motivate the stakeholders to play a dynamic role. The main objective was to create a collaborative community in the dairy and food industry which works like a network where the contact among different stakeholders is possible. Relationships among them will be fostered and durable links between the stakeholders and the SUSMILK project will be established.

The results are:

121 users from different countries: Spain, Italy, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Austria, Romania, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Serbia, Switzerland, Norway, Portugal, Finland, Poland

7 communities to exchange knowledge:

- Dairy Sustainability Initiative (IDF)

- SUSMILK pilot applications

- H2020 showroom

- Analysis of environmental impacts

- Technology Centre for Biorefinery and Bionergy

- Renewnetwork

- Biobase NWE project leaded by Bio Base Europe pilot plan

The GreenDairy.Net will be hosted by FEUGA for the following years also for the creation of new project ideas around resource-efficiency in the dairy sector.

Online Calculator

Especially for industry users an online calculator instrument was developed. With this tool the company experts can simulate technology scenarios in the production process to “test & calculate” the resource and cost efficiency. The calculator is available through the project website and can be found here:

The final calculator was designed a little bit different compared to the initial planning. Instead of a single calculator that covers all fields of SUSMILK it was split into three different calculators which cover options for a dairy with regard to:

- Milk concentration

- Energy savings

- CIP improvements

The “milk concentration” calculator allows estimating a necessary membrane area for producing a concentrate along with the composition of the concentrate. The “energy savings” calculator is based on the model of WP6 and allows evaluating the efficiency of the heat exchanger network within a dairy. By changing the exchangers possible energy and cost savings are calculated. Finally, the CIP improvement” calculator estimates potential chemical and water savings as well as costs savings when applying a CIP recycling system. The design of the calculators is extensively described in the deliverable D9.6: Online calculator instrument.

By designing three independent calculators a more individual tool was created for the dairies. This also helped to deal with the complex interdependencies of combining all dairy related issues.

Final Conference

The SUSMILK conference “Solutions for sustainable milk processing” gave over 120 attendees from 14 European countries many opportunities to learn about the great relevance of the topic resource-efficiency for dairy industry, to get to know the results of SUSMILK project, and to meet experts from industry and science during the 2 days final event:

Conference & workshops: experts introduced solutions and technologies for the sustainable development of the dairy industry to be more resource independent in the future. Biotechnology, heating and cooling technologies, waste water recovery or milk pre-concentration were among of the proposed solutions during the specific parallel workshops.

Poster session: presentation of project results, technical publications, technological developments and other relevant knowledge. Attendees were invited to submit a poster abstract for the poster sessions. Overall 20 posters were presented.

B2B matchmaking: in “B2B” sessions discussions and knowledge exchange among attendees were established in order to make new connections, share perspectives and brainstorm solutions. Several rooms were available for meetings.

Technical visits: on the 2nd day to the facilities of two SUSMILK partners were organized:

- Dairy Products Centre of University of Santiago de Compostela: a guided visit around the pilot plant and quality analysis labs.

- Feiraco Sociedad Cooperativa Galega: observing the functioning of the absorption chiller developed in this dairy cooperative for the SUSMILK project.

The SUSMILK final conference organized 3 parallel workshops where the main findings of the different innovation fields (product processing, energy technologies and waste processing), together with life cycle, efficiency and economic assessment of the SUSMILK green dairy concept compared to the generic dairy model, have been deepened.

The conference program was developed in close collaboration with all SUSMILK partners as it was believed to be the final highlight for communication and dissemination activities.

In line with the collaboration agreement, that was agreed among the EC funded projects SUSMILK, ENTHALPY and ENREMILK early 2014, the “sister projects” were given the opportunity to present their concepts and results during the final conference. Representatives of both projects were invited to as key note speakers and for the poster session.


A set of videos with statements and testimonials of partners involved in the project was produced. The videos are shared on the website and on YouTube, so that visitors get a quick insight in the project as well as a first “personal” contact to relevant partners. Via this approach the preference of the target groups that tend to use more and more animated information channels was addressed. Besides, it was aimed at showing the people behind the innovation ideas.

Moreover, a 3 minute info graphic animation video, uploaded to the official project website as well as on YouTube, has been produced to promote the SUSMILK project results. The video includes three main sections with different intentions: (i) to present market figures and the general project objective, (ii) to showcase results of developed technologies and (iii) to provide means of comparison to stakeholders such as LCA, exergy, online calculator,


Sustainability in general and resource efficiency in particular are “hot topics” for the dairy and food industry. Consumers tend to prefer “green products”, politicians start programs for “resource efficient production”, there are many research activities going on in this area, and finally the food companies can reduce input factors and costs helping to improve competitiveness in a highly price oriented market.

Milk processing is characterized by a large variety of heating and cooling processes within the chain from raw milk transportation and delivery until the final product. SUSMILK contains three innovation fields where efficient technologies and concepts were developed or adapted for the implementation in dairy industry. These three areas focus on (1) “energy (converting) technologies”, (2) targeted processing of milk before subsequent processing for end products (pre-concentration), and (3) the utilization of waste streams to output valuable products or renewable fuels.

With all the detailed outcomes and savings for the single technologies explained in the other chapters of this report, it can be concluded that SUSMILK developed AND implemented solutions in dairy that have the potential to reduce the use of energy and water, to make use of more sustainable energy resources and to valorize waste streams. In particular the testing of solutions in the practical application at dairy companies has two major benefits: on the one hand it helps directly to reduce resource consumption; on the other hand it can serve as “demonstrators” for other companies willing to invest in resource efficient technologies.

This is also why the project not only focused on the technological feasibility of the concepts, but also on the economic aspects. It is well known that investments with a reduced payback period are more likely to be done than those with a longer.

Economic analysis was conducted to assess the commercial feasibility of the supply technologies outlined in WP2 for a resource efficient supply of heat and cold. As outlined in deliverable 7.3 in detail, the economic analysis relies on data provided by the technology providers (SIMAKA, Parker, Solarfocus), plant data collected from demonstration units as well as the energy demand data gathered in the Life Cycle Inventory (LCI). The economic analysis employs a static economic method in the form of simple payback period to calculate the preliminary estimates. The simple payback period method estimates the time period required for an investment to recover its initial capital costs, assuming that the net annual cash flow remains the same for each succeeding years of plant operation until the initial capital cost is fully recovered. The economic assessment was conducted for the following supply technologies:

(1) Heat pumps (for heat upgrading)

(2) Absorption chillers (for adaptation of efficient cooling)

(3) Pellet-Solar system (for heat generation)

The assessment showed that the payback period for technologies (1) and (2) is below 2 years and for the CPC solar collectors of approximately 6 years, depending on the conditions of a dairy.

The project will also contribute to a more resource-efficient and sustainable low-carbon economy by addressing the life cycle of dairy wastes treatment and biogas production, creating new valuable chemicals and reducing the need for fossil-based inputs. The implementation of the project results in an important contribution to the implementation of the European Commission Strategy "Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe". The dairy could also become more independent by using the products internally or could extend its product portfolio leading to a more competitive dairy while simultaneously improving the carbon and water footprint.

Finally, with the conducted LCA it was shown, that the major impacts of dairy products were highest during the production of raw milk (about 80 % for most impact categories, see table 9 in deliverable 7.3). Although the analysis of the environmental impacts that occur at this stage was not the focus of the LCA study, dairies also have an influence on these impacts, e.g. by reducing the amount of milk losses in the dairy.

The technological improvement options developed in the SUSMILK project can lead to significant reductions of environmental impacts of dairy operation (generic dairy model, plus cooling agents, infrastructure, transports, waste water treatment and additional electricity consumption). In spite of only optimizing the generic dairy part, the exergy optimized scenario and the environmentally optimized scenario study show a reduction of about 25 % for the total impacts of the overall dairy production chain - excluding the raw milk input (see section 5.3.5 in deliverable 7.3).

Furthermore, the social impact assessment in application of the prior discussed technologies was analyzed on the economic front, by estimating the total generated induced jobs as a result of increase in equipment demand, through the potential implementation of the technology improvement options within the SUSMILK project.

For this study, the induced jobs were re-defined as the employment changes that are associated with an increased demand along a supply and distribution chain or in other terms induced jobs are demand-side jobs. Therefore, the study focused on the resulting induced jobs generated due to an increased equipment demand (resulting from the manufacturing, commissioning and service of absorption chillers, heat pumps and solar heat systems) in the existing European engineering and manufacturing industry. The induced jobs were estimated using several industry specific statistics and multipliers provided by a broad spectrum of sources. All in all it was found that there was a minimal positive impact on the green jobs generated from the application of these technologies in the SUSMILK dairy model.

To summarize in short:

- SUSMILK partners successfully developed and implemented technologies that can help to reduce resource input, namely energy and water.

- By implementing the technologies at the dairy partners´ premises the proof of concept is made and will lead to a potential quick uptake by other industry.

- Investing in new technologies is economically feasible and makes the market uptake more likely.

- New side stream concepts will further help to reduce resource input and to improve competitiveness of the dairy industry.

With GreenDairy.Net and the close linkage to International Dairy Federation the basis is set for further communication and dissemination of project results and creation of new project ideas after the end of the project.

List of Websites:

Maintained by:
Fraunhofer Institute for Enviromental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT
Osterfelder Str. 3
46047 Oberhausen

Responsible Editor:
Dr.-Ing. Christoph Glasner (
Phone: +49 208 8598-1133

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