A cascade microfiltration and reverse osmosis approach for energy efficient concentration of skim milk

Herehau Blais, Quang Tri Ho, Eoin G. Murphy, Karin Schroën, John T. Tobin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

To improve the efficiency of water removal from skim milk, a cascade membrane process of microfiltration and reverse osmosis (RO) was developed whereby skim milk was concentrated to 18% dry matter (DM) by RO at either 15 or 50 °C. The average flux of the RO process at 50 °C was 89% higher than that observed at 15 °C, linked to altered membrane surface fouling behaviour due to lower viscosity, higher cross-flow velocity and increased diffusivity of the solvent phase. In corollary, a ~57% energy reduction per unit volume of water removed was observed when the RO process was operated at 50 °C. Evaluation of the physicochemical properties of control (9% DM content skim milk) and RO retentates post-heating (at 80, 90 and120 °C) and post-evaporation (to 42% DM) demonstrated a clear relationship between heating at elevated DM contents and solution viscosity, an effect that was compounded at higher heating temperatures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110511
JournalJournal of Food Engineering
Volume300
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

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