“This project was awarded by the VIDA project and has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement nº 777795”.
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Project and title:
Demonstration project at potential users’ facilities: patented high-power ultrasound technology to revolutionize the honey industry with a healthier and more energy-efficient processing technique.
Honey is much more than a sweetener: it is a functional food. Apart from its delicious sweet taste, raw honey is composed of more than 200 beneficial substances such as amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins and nutrients that have shown benefits for our health: antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Honey presents a semi-transparent viscous fluid state when it is extracted from the honeycomb, but in a few weeks the crystallization of honey inevitably occurs as a natural phenomenon (caused by the high presence of sugars), so that honey unfortunately becomes semi-solid (crystallization). Honey crystallization is poorly understood by the consuming public, as most consumers incorrectly assume that facilitate handling / packaging, ensure consumer acceptance and avoid the risks associated with honey returns, honey packers pasteurize honey destined for retail trade, whereby raw honey is heated to 80ºC for 2-3 minutes to melt the sugar crystals before bottling. Unfortunately, these high temperatures also lead to a significant reduction in the quality, freshness and nutraceutical attributes of honey, because the most important heat sensitive components of honey thermally degrade above 50ºC.
Liquam®’s value proposition
In recent times, the demand for better quality honey is increasing, as honey is consumed for its health benefits and also as a natural sweetener that could replace unhealthy refined sugar. In response to growing consumer demands for healthier foods, there is a clear need among retail honey processors for a cost-effective, energy efficient and healthier processing alternative to heat treatment that preserves 100% of the beneficial natural components of honey. At Sonicat Systems we present our revolutionary flagship product, LIQUAM®, a 100kg / h continuous flow reactor for small beekeepers that ensures a more respectful and efficient food processing, based on High Power Ultrasonics [HPU]. LIQUAM® prevents the crystallization of honey, preserving all the natural nutrients of raw honey. This specific project has been conceived to demonstrate our Minimum Viable Product [MVP] at the premises of a potential user (www.untamedhoney.com) for a few months. The MVP will be demonstrated in terms of:
1) different samples of honey (botanical type, origin and composition),
2) different pretreatment steps (filtering, mixing, homogenization), and
3) under different operating conditions (power, frequency, temperature, power consumption, transducer connection).
During the project, our goal is to improve the design and usability of the small-size LIQUAM® (100kg / hr), thus closing the gap between the current TRL7 and the expected TRL8 (complete and qualified system).
The consortium is made up of Sonicat Systems (foodtech start-up from Spain, expert in food processing), SETECSON (manufacturer of ultrasonic transducers from Spain) and Libelium (manufacturer of IoT devices from Spain). The LIQUAM® project responds to the scope of VIDA’s challenges by:
1) including a new technology for honey processing that reduces energy consumption by 40% compared to BAT,
2) improving the food value chain with the conservation and valorization of nutrients in the sugar industry (honey),
3) introduce advanced manufacturing technologies such as KET for this purpose.