INV 11: Lyophilizer (10-15kg water)
Lyophilization or freeze-drying combines the benefits of both freezing and drying and provides a dry, shelf-stable and readily soluble product. The wet product is either frozen beforehand or inside the lyophilizer. It is loaded in trays and then a deep vacuum is applied to sublimate the water. It is a relatively expensive technology and therefor applied to higher value products where gentle product treatment is needed to avoid heat stress, together with the need to reduce the water activity. Also during product development, lyophilisation is frequently used for sample preparation because it is a simple technique to apply and results in high quality product samples.
The envisioned scale is 10-15 liter per drying cycle which creates drying opportunities linked to 5-100L fermentation scales.
How will this equipment help SMEs in North West Europe:
Outsourcing lyophilisation of smaller product samples can result in (1) quality loss, since the product needs to be transported before the lyophilisation process can start, and (2) an increased overall cost since more time is spent to deliver the final product.
The equipment proposed here will resolve this bottleneck and make the service cheaper. It is intended for smaller volumes. For larger volumes, external freeze drying capacity will be used whereas planning and cost intensity on small scale can be countered with the envisioned equipment scale. This results in a more cost-effective service, which is especially important for SMEs.