Dry fractionation of oil-rich crops

Projecttitel: Dry fractionation of oil-rich crops
Projectnummer: LWV19023
Missie: Kringlooplandbouw
MMIP: A3 - Hergebruik zij- en reststromen
Looptijd: 2020 – 2024
Projectleider: Marieke Bruins

Mild and dry separation of grains and legumes can replace traditional wet separation, leading to an increase in use efficiency of the protein fraction with less environmental impact. Application is limited by the fact that the technology is currently less suitable for oil-bearing crops. The oil content has a negative impact on grinding and separation because the powder becomes sticky and can no longer flow freely. The presence of the oil also influences the shelf life (think of fat oxidation) and functional applicability (think of, for example, emulsification) of the protein product.
The approach taken within this project is to develop technological solutions in the field of dry separation, which can lead to an increase in its applicability to oil-containing raw materials. Hereby research is done on pre-treatment methods such as supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) extraction, improved grinding methods, and innovative separation techniques such as electrostatic separation. A pilot scale setup for electrostatic separation will be further designed and developed within this project.
This project will also deliver fundamental insight into the location, distribution and role of oil in the raw materials and especially during milling and dry separation. This new knowledge should lead to an improved approach in separating dry raw materials with different oil levels and to functional ingredient fractions for sustainable and healthy food. This knowledge is applied in three industrial cases, which aim to develop new processes that produce sustainable and healthy protein-rich ingredients for food industry. This will make the sector a leader in the production of new alternative proteins from oil-containing raw materials and will broaden the range of alternative proteins for the protein transition to more vegetable protein. Essential to both the environmental footprint reduction and to the successful business case is valorization of non-protein ingredient streams. For this reason, the other fractions: oil and fibre/carbohydrates are also studied for application potential in food. This ultimately provides society and consumers with more sustainable new products, with specific functionality due to milder processing, improved nutritional value, and possibly a different distribution of trace elements in the functional fractions.