About the project

In biomass utilization one of the key challenges is water removal. Water removal and drying of highly viscous, semi-solid or solid materials, is usually performed by evaporation. But there is a need for technologies that are less energy-intensive, economically feasible and preferably improve the quality of the end-products. This project will focus on applying electric driving forces for water removal from highly viscous, semi-solid or solid materials.

Three distinct approaches are studied, one for each type of material. Highly viscous but still fluid feeds are dewatered using electro-responsive materials that absorb and desorb water when subjected to an electric potential. Slurries that have transformed into a (soft) solid, are dewatered using electro-dewatering employing various mechanisms (electrophoresis, electromigration, electro-osmosis) to draw water from the solid phase. For (semi-)solids that require removal of their last remaining water, and where diffusion in the solid phase is rate limiting, electro-hydrodynamic drying is employed.

These electrically driven approaches offer effective alternatives to conventional evaporation-based methods for dewatering high viscous, semi-solid or solid materials, presenting potential advantages in terms of efficiency and controllability.

 

Goal

To develop key technological principles based on electric driving forces for enabling large (50–90%) energy reductions in water removal and drying.

Specifications

Industrial partners
Avebe, ANDRITZ, Cosun, Corbion, DSM, MEAM, The Protein Brewery and VNP 

Academic partners
Eindhoven University of Technology, Delft University of Technology, University of Twente, University of Groningen and Wageningen University & Research (WU-FPE). 
Dissemination partners: ISPT, NWGD and Next Food Collective.
 
Project funded by the NWO Key Technologies program.
 

Project leader/contact person
dr. ir. Maarten Schutyser  maarten.schutyser@wur.nl 

Time period
2023-2027 

Total budget
2.5 M Euro   

# PhD
4

# Postdoc   
3