The transition towards more plant-based ingredients and products holds promise for sustainability goals. However, it is often associated with increased energy use. For example energy-intensive purification processes represent a challenge. The new project EPRoTrans aims to overcome this challenge by developing innovative process routes. These routes drastically reduce energy consumption while yielding healthy and sustainable plant-based food products.
EPRoTrans, short for Energy reduction technologies enabling Protein Transition, is building on the results of the recently concluded ISPT project Novel Process Routes. This project explored new routes to reduce ingredients’ footprint by up to 50%. However, additional research is essential to develop new or adapted processing methods. These methods must align with energy consumption, ingredient functionality and carbon footprint criteria. Therefore, the consortium consisting of Cosun, DSM, FrieslandCampina, Pentair, NIZO, Wageningen University, TU Delft and ISPT joins forces to generate process configurations that are well-suited for the future.
The dairy industry’s unique expertise in milk fractionation provides an opportunity for an alternative approach to plant ingredient production. This energy-efficient method avoids chemical and solvent use, aligning with the project’s focus on water-only fractionation processes. The project partners will combine both fundamental and applied research on processing mixed plant raw materials streams, to make ingredients in an energy efficient manner and minimal footprint. Moreover, the mild character of dairy fractionation processes suggests potential for innovative functionalities in plant protein ingredients compared to traditionally processed ingredients.
A forward looking perspective
EPRoTrans envisions a more sustainable future where practices align with national climate and environmental goals for 2030. Its impact could extend beyond the food industry to industries like pharmaceuticals and chemicals. It is expected that new process configurations will lead to 30% energy reduction in 2030.
This project is co-funded by TKI-E&I with the supplementary grant 'TKI- Toeslag' for Topconsortia for Knowledge and Innovation (TKI’s) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.