Electrostatic Drying; a Low Temperature Approach to Spray Drying and Oil Encapsulation


Conventional methods of drying are widely used in food preservation and spray drying of liquids and encapsulation of oils is common practice in Australian manufacturing. Although spray drying has many viable applications, it also has limitations and high temperature processing is the single greatest concern. Many active ingredients are sensitive to heat, often resulting in denaturation, product degradation and loss of quality. When it comes to drying encapsulated oils, traditional processes yield low retention. Low temperature drying alternatives exist, and freeze drying is often the preferred solution. Freeze drying overcomes heat related issues and plays a prominent role in preservation, however, it is a batch process and throughput is limited.

The ideal solution to liquid drying permits continuous manufacturing whilst maintaining product integrity and this gap in process capability is filled by the PolarDry® range of electrostatic spray dryers. By delivering an electrostatic charge during the atomisation process of liquid droplets, water is evaporated at lower temperatures than possible in traditional spray dryers. Heat transfer to the atomised droplets is based on latent heat allowing powders to be dried at temperatures as low as 30ᵒC and oil retention of encapsulated products exceeds 70%.

The future of food manufacturing is driven by innovation and high value adding nutritional, functional and bioactive ingredients are key to sustainability. Consequently, the drive for high quality ingredients also requires innovation in manufacturing technologies and PolarDry® electrostatic spray drying is a novel technique developed to meet the demands and challenges associated with conventional spray- and freeze drying. After eight years of development, Fluid Air, a division of Spraying Systems Co® launched the PolarDry® commercial range of spray dryers and sales in the US and Europe have steadily grown in the three years following market launch.

Fluid Air Australia is excited to introduce the innovative PolarDry® technology to Australia and New Zealand. A Melbourne based state-of-the-art, fit-for-purpose research and development ISO certified facility equipped with analytical and electrostatic spray drying capability exists to support local manufacturers. Market interest is driven predominantly by movement in the microbiome and bioactive materials sectors, and encapsulation of oils. Typical electrostatic drying applications include probiotic and anaerobic microorganism, viable cells associated with the human microbiome and heat sensitive bioactive proteins such as lactoferrin. Interest in oil encapsulation is driven by the processing of highly volatile and unsaturated products, oil soluble flavor and aroma compounds, and cannabinoid oils.

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