Development of a high power ultrasound system for the low-cost, fast, effective and quality drying of fruit and vegetables

Dried foods are suitable for various applications and offer many advantages for the food industry: longer shelf-life, easy and inexpensive shipping, furthermore uncomplicated and safe treatment. For the projects ULTRAVEG project partners worked to improve quality and marketability of dried fruits and vegetables. The consortium also wants to achieve a cost reduction within the drying process.
The state of the art method of commercial drying for dried vegetables is known as Accelerated Freeze-Drying (AFD). Although the process bears high quality products, it suffers from being high in price. Since the process is very energy consuming, it can only be applied to pricy products. Furthermore, large capital investments for the equipment have to be spent. Especially for small and medium sized companies it is difficult to afford this technique.

High-power ultrasonics is a powerful new technology that is not only save and environmentally friendly, but also efficient and economical. It can be integrated in existing processes to reduce or eliminate the need for chemicals and/or heat in many contexts. An ultrasonically assisted drying process permits lower temperatures and shorter treatment times. The ULTRAVEG technology will strengthen the competitiveness of SMEs within the global dried food sector.