The energy use in industry due to drying operations is significant. It accounts for about 15% of the total industrial energy consumption. With the energy prices on the rise due to the current geopolitical situation, the industry faces increased energy costs. As a result, there is significant pressure on the sector to optimize drying processes and aim for energy efficiency in spray drying, which is one of the most energy-intensive unit operations.
To address this challenge, a new project has been launched under the ISPT’s drying and dewatering program: DRAGONS Egg.
Collaborative efforts to drive innovation
The project, short for “increasing energy efficiency by steering DRoplet AGglomeratiON in Spray dryers” is a collaborative effort involving Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Wageningen University (WUR) and the industrial partners Danone Nutricia, dsm-firmenich and FrieslandCampina. Their united objective is to accelerate the understanding of spray drying dynamics and agglomeration behaviour. They aim to reduce the loss of fines and obtain energy savings.
The DRAGONS Egg project is an extension of prior ISPT projects: EEMS (Energy Efficient Milky Sprays) and StAggloP (Steering Agglomeration Processes – reducing energy use and material loss by better control of agglomeration during spray drying). These projects focused on the atomisation of liquids with high solids content and the agglomeration process during spray drying, respectively.
Advanced research for enhanced spray drying efficiency
The knowledge institutes TU/e, WUR and the industrial stakeholders, will continue their advanced numerical modelling and experimental research, building on the stepping stones obtained from EEMS and StAggloP. The focus will be on gaining fundamental understanding of individual droplet drying and binary collisions. The ultimate goal is to develop a lumped parameter model, aiding industrial partners in optimizing their large-scale spray drying processes for improved process efficiency and maintaining product quality. Such advancements facilitate the realisation of expected energy savings and CO2 reductions at their respective sites.
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.