Design construction and testing of low cost, high capacity extruder equipment for biopolymers (food, feed and fibres)

Food and fibre agroindustry extruder technology progress is
hindered by high equipment costs,high energy consumption and
low capacities (tons per unit). There is a need for simple,
high input equipment for biopolymer extrusion.

Fifteen years of single-screw and twin-screw extrusion technology for food, feed and fibres have clearly shown the limitations of the available designs. Either the costs per kilogramme extruded and heat-treated biopolymers are too high, with respect to energy consumption and depreciation costs, or the output per extruder as a whole is too low to be competitive with e.g. conventional steam toasting equipment. The scientific extrusion centres of Lublin, POLAND and Wageningen, the NETHERLANDS are cooperating to force a breakthrough in extrusion technology, both in Western and Central Europe, by developing low cost, high capacity twin and single-screw extruder equipment for the food, feed and fibre industry. Extruder applications in the feed and fibre industry will then be considerably increased, which is important for an industry facing marginal trading results. There is therefore a niche in the extruder market for equipment designed to handle low and high viscosity products at attractive residence time distribution and low pumping costs. The result of the VALEUREX project must be a design for a counter-rotating, twin-screw extruder. This design must combine the advantages of extruders allowing them to work at relatively low water content, i.e. avoiding drying costs and with short resistance times i.e. saving the nutritional value. The POLISH INSTITUTE FOR FOOD PROCESSING MACHINERY and the Dutch company LALESSE MACHINEBOUW B.V.,have joined forces to design and produce a counter-rotating, twin-screw extruder process and its equipment. Specific parts of the development work and all tests will be performed by the AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY OF LUBLIN and WAGENINGEN AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY. The Swedish AB BENZLER will design the drives and bearing constructions of the extruders. The prototypes of the twin-screw extruders will have a capacity of at least 400 kilogrammes/hour. For the fibre application an output of 600 kilogrammes/hour is required. These capacities have been chosen to allow safe scaling up towards a higher throughput of e.g. 10 tons/hour and 20 tons/hour respectively. These capacities are of interest for the agrofood and agrofibre industry. Since a wide variety of agro-product-bystreams must be treated in the developed extruder process, consideration must be given to the different chemical compositions of the by-streams in question. This means that a certain range of pH must be possible, especially with respect to chemical and biochemical treatments with enzymes. Special attention must also be paid to promising and conditioning equipment, as well as to post-extruder equipment. These requirements make the process complex and difficult. With the help of both the universities involved, these problems can be solved.
Project ID: 
1 274
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
750 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.