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Ultra high-pressure processing using propellants (UHP)- AFM 223 - FT1519

The aim of this project is to design, build and test a one litre pressure vessel that will produce pressures of up to 1500 MPa and by adiabatic heating a temperature rise of up to 53 °C, using gas generating cartridges pre-designed to produce a given pressure in just milliseconds. The release time and rate will be controllable and take just seconds. The system, “UHP3”, Ultra High Pressure Processing by Propellants, will be far smaller than current UHP plants. Each pressure vessel will have a footprint of 1-2m2 and commercially several will be run in sequence on a carousel to provide the throughput needed by industry. Hence, the capital costs will be lower and so the process will break the “asset challenge of current UHP technology”, (Masterfoods, 2004). Also in a commercial vessel the released pressurised gas will be used to provide half the pressure for the next vessel with the remaining highly energetic gas passing through turbines to provide energy to run the machinery, saving further money.

· To develop an engineering prototype pressure vessel capable of containing pressures of 1500 MPa that can be used to safely process food rapidly, and accurately.
· To extend the existing scientific knowledge and technology of propellants, that are already used in seat belts, car bags and meat tenderisation as well as military and mining applications at pressures of up to 700MPa to design appropriate propellant charges, to generate the required pressures and temperatures without by products harmful to food products.
· To develop instrumentation that can be placed on food packages to determine if the correct pressure has been reached
· To develop packaging that functions under UHP3 pressures and conditions.
· To develop an economic model of the most efficient ways to recover the energy from the exhaust gases.
· To provide proof of principle that a commercially sterile product is feasible.
· To obtain patents in the fields of engineering, chemistry (propellants) and biosciences related to the technology of ultra-high-pressure processing.
Project Documents
• Executive Summary : Ultra high-pressure processing using propellants   (414k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2005

To: 2008

Cost: £231,461
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Leatherhead Food International Ltd, Ripon Technical Services (Leeds) Ltd, Link-Sure Limited, Food Processing Faraday Partnership, University - Cranfield, H J Heinz Company Limited, Pains Wessex Limited, Masterfoods, Baxters of Speyside Ltd
Food and Drink              
Food Industry Sustainability Strategy              
Food manufacturing industry              
Food Processing Sciences              
Food Quality              
Food Safety              
Manufacturing Efficiency              
Process Technology              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Technology Transfer              
Fields of Study
Resource Efficient and Resilient Food Chain