Automated Fouling Mitigation System for Dairy Filtration Membranes

Period of Performance: 01/01/2003 - 12/31/2003


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Eltron Research, Inc.
4600 Nautilus Court South
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Filtration membranes in the dairy industry for milk and cheese whey processing are to be cleaned and disinfected every 24 hours. Typical filtration plants for large-scale dairy processing have hold-up volumes of 1000-2000 gallons requiring large volumes of cleaning solutions and large quantities of chemical cleansers. Reducing cleanser cost and the environmental impact of spent cleanser discharge, especially chlorine and chlorinated byproducts, will benefit the economics of dairy processing and reduce chemical hazards to the environment. Additionally, filtration membranes are easily damaged by chlorine whereas they are tolerant to much greater levels of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide also auto-decomposes to water and oxygen making it environmentally benign. However, the cost of hydrogen peroxide traditionally exceeds that of chlorine or hypochlorite. The electrolytic technology in this program will produce hydrogen peroxide solutions consuming water, electricity, and oxygen from air for a fraction of the cost of bulk sources making its use an economically viable alternative to chlorine. The automated system based on this technology will generate cleanser solutions effective for cleaning and disinfecting filter membranes used in dairy processing at a fraction of the cost of bulk cleanser concentrates. Cleanser solutions will be generated on-site at the proper concentrations minimizing the use of bulk chemical concentrates. This system will be interfaced as an add-on to the current clean in place cleanser distribution systems used to maintain filter plants.