Cooling processes in food industry

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1. OBJECTIVE


The objective of cooling processes in the food industry is to reduce or maintain the temperature of the food product in a lower level for a period of time. Cooling, chilling, cold stabilization and ageing are the typical processes included in this category.


2. FIELD OF APPLICATION


Cooling processes can be applied in different food industry sectors, including dairies, breweries, fruit and vegetable industries, meat production and wine production (BAT in the Food, Drink and Milk Industries, June 2005).


3. DESCRIPTION OF TECHNIQUES, METHODS AND EQUIPMENT


In cooling systems, cooling is carried out by passing the product through a heat exchanger or cooler or cooling the vessels. A cooling medium is always used to achieve the temperature reduction and often the cooling medium is recirculated in the cooling system. The equipment used for freezing can also be used for cooling (BAT in the Food, Drink and Milk Industries, June 2005). In the cases of chilling, cold stabilization and ageing, the food product should remain in low temperature levels for a period of time, therefore cooling storage rooms or vessels are needed (BAT in the Food, Drink and Milk Industries, June 2005).


4. COMPETITIVE TECHNOLOGIES AND ENERGY SAVING POTENTIALS


Depending on the cooling process, different methods can be used to achieve energy savings.

Absorption cooling is an alternative to conventional mechanical cooling which requires less energy than the typically consumed (Galitsky et al. Improving Energy Efficiency in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Operations -- Part II: HVAC, Boilers and Cogeneration, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, publication number LBNL 60288 Part 2).

Cryogenic systems are also applied in cooling processes, in cases when cooling should be accomplished in short times (BAT in the Food, Drink and Milk Industries, June 2005).

Cooling is achieved alternatively by two other ways, using magnetronic materials or electrocalorific materials. In these cases, magnetic or electric fields force special types of materials to heat and cool periodically and the reduction in energy consumption is important (LITERATURE:
Northwest Food Processors Association
Goho, A. (2004) Cool magnet: a little bit of iron gives magnetic refrigeration a boost
Engelbrecht, K. L., (2005) A Numerical Model of an Active Magnetic Regenerative Refrigeration System, Thesis, Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin – Madison).

Finally, another alternative to conventional cooling systems is to use refrigerating systems with controlled evaporation fan. It regulates the speed of the evaporator fan motors to meet the need of each phase of the refrigeration cycle and energy consumption is reduced (LITERATURE:
Northwest Food Processors Association
Office of Industrial Technologies (2001), Summary of Program Results, U.S. Department of Energy, January 2001, www.oit.doe.gov, p.96).


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