Pectcof (The Netherlands) extracts pectin from coffee pulp

Pectcof has developed a technology to extract bio-compounds (pectin) from industrial coffee waste (the leftover when coffee cherries are seperated into coffee beans and waste). Around six products can be separated using biochemical processes, including pectin, antioxidants, sugars, caffeine, a fine red pigment and cellulose. At this moment in time, this coffee pulp is imported from Costa Rica and Colombia where it is dumped next to roads and in rivers, causing huge environmental problems.

In The Netherlands, pectin is extracted from the coffee pulp in several steps. So far, the yield of this procedure is ‘several tens of grammes’, says Rudi Dieleman, responsible for marketing and sales at Pectcof. Pectcof in cooperation with Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant recently carried out a scale-up product to demonstrate that the extraction process of the pectin is also feasible at large scale. Pectcof had previously demonstrated at laboratory scale that it could extract pectin at laboratory scale from coffee berry, and an application for a worldwide patent was filed on this basis. In addition, a test was performed with membrane technology at BBEPP to improve the filtration and purification of the final product.

It was very important for Pectcof to be able to make use of Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant.  Start-up, with large investments in process equipment and material, cannot be justified until it is certain that these actually achieve the desired result.  Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant was a valuable partner because it carries out many other biorefinery processes, so that it has a vast amount of expertise closely related to Pectcof’s processes.

It became clear after the scale-up project that testing has to be done at even larger scale in order to be able to define the industrial equipment that can be used for a pilot line. This realisation has had the result that Pectcof now thinks on a larger scale and has sought contact with engineering firms that can design and calculate the equipment and materials to be used for a pilot line. Thanks to the understanding gained from the filtration and purification test, Pectcof is now able to focus on a number of specific filtration and purification techniques. Contact has also been established with the industry for this purpose.  They assist us in identifying the optimal and most cost-effective process.

In the short term the tests at Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant in particular have yielded process-related insights and resulted in a build-up of knowledge in the area of process and product.

In the long term the results from BBEPP are used as a basis for pilot-line calculations and as the basis for the purchasing of specific necessary equipment.

Pectin is used as a binding agent in foods. Nowadays it is mainly extracted from peels of apple and citrus fruits, as people tend to eat more and more fresh fruits, the supply of peels decreases. Furthermore there is a growing biomass demand for pectin extraction and a shortage on the market.

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