Infuser and partners to scale-up disinfection technology

Picture: © Infuser. The Research and Development lab in the Copenhagen Science City

Infuser has started a project to scale-up disinfection technology to boost food safety for industry.

“SAFE-ROOOM” will last for two years and partners are the University of Copenhagen, Biofilm Test Facility and Metropolitan University College and test partners Frankly Juice and Chr. Hansen.

Full-Depth Disinfection Cycle (FDDC) technology disinfects air and surfaces from harmful pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria.

FDDC applies an air purification process after biological disinfection to remove the remaining oxidant gases as well as harmful by-products, such as particles and nano-particles.

The biological disinfection uses a mixture of atomized water and activated oxygen (ozone) created using electricity and ambient air.

Once disinfection of the whole room is accomplished (around one hour) the ozone is turned back into pure oxygen.

Infuser has experience dealing with harmful microorganisms in other sectors, including healthcare.

From prototype to industrial use

Eliot Booth, general product manager purification solutions at Infuser, said the challenge of the project was to scale-up the prototype small unit to the large scale required by food factories.

“We have validated the technology on a small scale but food factories need a bigger volume,” he told FoodQualityNews.

“It is a modular concept so the more modules the cleaning of the room is faster, between two and four hours. A normal installation is four or five modules but it can go up to 10. One of the things we will look at during the project is if it is better to have a lot of small modules or a few bigger ones.

“We had not got a product for them but we had enquiries from food factories asking us if they could use it but it was too big of a volume and we said we would work on it.

“The clear objective is to show the efficacy and have the documentation which is why we work with universities on how to do it right with standard operating procedures and design for the food factory to fit in with their daily operations.”

Infuser said it can help prevent market recalls which are costly and damaging to the company image and brand.

Food factory need dependant

Booth said the frequency of use depends on how the food factory operates.

“It is an automated, fixed installation and can be done overnight. If you do not run 24/7 and if you have two to four hours you can run it every day or if you have a 24 hour operation you can run it once every week,” he said.

“We use gas so it goes everywhere, in all cracks and we don’t use chemicals or consumables just electricity and water so it has a low run cost.

“Right now food factories are using chemicals which can be expensive or corrosive and they search for alternatives, they naturally switch to UV light but quickly see the limits of the shadow area and efficacy.”

Booth said with disinfection options such as peracetic acid, the factory needs to close for 12 to 24 hours until it disappears or risk personal being exposed.

“We have proof of concept that it works on common pathogens of interest for the food industry such as E. coli, Listeria and one of the work packages is looking at more bacteria and different surfaces,” he said.

“We have looked at stainless steel but in the project we will look at other materials. Results are promising so far but we will go deeper and wider in the project.”

Another work package will look at computational fluid dynamics (CFD) which can simulate the process on a computer visualizing fluids and how they move.

With ozone being an invisible gas it is hard to show the spread without simulations.

Infuser was granted a financial contribution from The Market Development Fund (Markedsmodningsfonden) and support from the Danish investment and development company Capnova.

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