Author: Mark de Boevere
Novel applications for potato processing
Pulsed Electric Field technology (PEF) enables the development of
innovative, cost-effective, and sustainable processing concepts to manufacture
French fries, crisps and potato specialities.
View how frozen French fries are
produced with PEF without a traditional pre-heater. The input capacity is 132,000
lbs/hr, which equals 60 tonnes per hour. PEF treatment is done within one
second, without increasing the temperature of the potatoes.
How PEF works
PEF is a non-thermal technology
for food processing based on the application of repetitive, short electric
field pulses to the food. This creates miniscule holes in
the plant cells, which makes the cells porous and facilitates transport of
water and other valuable compounds. A typical PEF system for potato processing
consists of a high voltage pulse generator and a treatment chamber through
which the potatoes flow in water. In the treatment chamber the high voltage
pulses are applied.
In the potato industry, PEF technology results in improved cut quality: a softer texture facilitates cutting and gives the French fries a smoother surface which then reduces oil absorption during frying. French fries are long because the potatoes break less during processing. New cuts, shapes and French fries made from different vegetables now belong to the possibilities. Tough and inconsistent raw materials like sweet potato, turnip and beet root become easily processable with PEF.
Usage of PEF results in higher
yields, while also less energy is needed due to the replacement of the thermal
pre-treatment, continuous operability, short processing times, and waste-free
processing. Additionally, PEF treatment enables substantial water savings. A
potato processor who implemented PEF technology explained “the implementation
of PEF has enabled us to save eight percent of our fresh water usage, or 70
million litres per year, which is the equivalent of roughly 28 Olympic sized
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canadian research institutes are doing research and product development on PEF systems for the benefit of the Canadian and global food industry. A Pulsemaster Solidus pilot-scale batch PEF system is used for research on solids like potatoes, onions, fruits. A Pulsemaster Liquidus continuous pilot-scale PEF system is used for research on liquids like fresh fruit juices. Both systems are used by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canadian research institutes and they welcome contact from commercial companies and science sector, interested in exploring specific applications of PEF technology for science based precision processing of healthy, structured and tasteful foods and beverages.
Costs & capacities
On a commercial scale, the total
processing costs are typically 1 Euro/ton (0.1 Eurocent per kg / 0.056 US
Dollarcent per lb). Treatment capacities of Pulsemaster PEF equipment vary from
1 to 90 tons (2,200 lbs-198,000 lbs) per hour for cell disintegration of potatoes
with practically no size limitations. Today Pulsemaster's largest industrial
sized PEF equipment can process to up 90 tons (198.000 lbs) per hour in one,
broader transport system executed with multiple treatment chambers, to meet the
growing demand for higher input capacities in the potato industry. Overall, the
system results in higher output of French fries, reduced investment costs and
higher product quality.
is continuously developing commercial scale PEF systems. Future applications of
PEF in potato industry may include enhanced blanching, drying processes and
wastewater treatment. The research targets to increase yields and reduce costs
of processes like microbial inactivation, drying, osmotic treatment, freezing,
extraction and diffusion processes, show the tremendous potential of this
emerging technique beyond the examples presented in this article. Contact Mark de Boevere or visit www.pulsemaster.us for more information.