Demonstration plant for the recovery of fatty acids

Closing the cycles seems to be gaining more and more influence. With our circular membrane solutions, Wafilin contributes to this and has established contacts with a partner who has developed a breakthrough fermentation technology to produce medium chain fatty acids from food residues. A product that is used as a feed additive in animal feed, which contributes to a healthy intestinal flora of the animals.

The technology, developed by our partner, has been taken from laboratory scale and pilot tests to commercial production at a demonstration level. Wafilin’s membrane system will be integrated into a demonstration environment to enable further testing and development. Wafilin’s prototype is used for the processing of the fermented waste streams from the food processing industry that consist of organic material such as fruit and vegetables that have passed the expiration date. The organic waste stream is converted into fatty acids with a series of digesters. A technique that has never been demonstrated at this capacity. The effluent of the fermenters is purified by means of ultrafiltration membranes. The permeate of the ultrafiltration membranes, in which the fatty acids are present, is concentrated by means of nanofiltration membranes. Concentrating fatty acids with nanofiltration membranes has also never been applied on this scale and therefore it is unique, from a technological perspective. Improving the dynamics between ultra- and nanofiltration were important aspects of the past trials with the prototype and was used in the further development of the production unit.

Our partner indicates: “The value of fatty acids has been shown. Potential buyers are enthusiastic. In addition to expanding the supply and sales market, 2019 is the year in which we carry out tests to investigate how we can optimize the total process with our partners, such as Wafilin Systems.”

At the end of this year, it will become apparent whether the operating principle resonates. More information about this innovative project, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, will follow soon. For more information, please contact Jos van Dalfsen, our R&D manager:

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