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Hydrodynamic cavitation assisted beer brewing

Country of Origin: Italy
Reference Number: TOIT20180320002
Publication Date: 21 March 2018

Summary

An Italian research team has developed, patented and industrialized a novel beer-brewing technology based on controlled hydrodynamic cavitation. The new technology allows saving about half the processing time and consumed energy in the mashing and hopping stages, after completely removing the dry milling and boiling stages. The researchers (patent owners) are looking for industrial partnership (joint venture agreements or license agreements).

Description

An Italian research team has developed an innovative technology exploiting a new beer-brewing process based on controlled hydrodynamic cavitation (HC).
The technology exploits the power of HC to speed up and substantially increase the efficiency of beer-brewing processes, across the respective main steps, while preserving or improving sensorial and nutritive quality of the final products.
During about 6 years, the research team gained substantial experience and competence in the development of devices and methods, as well as in the analysis, in the processes including controlled hydrodynamic cavitation reactors, applications covering food liquids and specifically beer brewing (as proven by a very large number of scientific publications about the technology).
The technology includes a closed hydraulic circuit, connecting one or more centrifugal pumps to HC reactors and a main tank. The only energy source is electricity. Non pre-crushed malt or grains are mixed with water, undergoing a hybrid heating-cavitation process while circulating, with cavitation occurring at one or more reactors (precisely shaped Venturi tubes), and volumetric heating occurring by friction, mainly in the cavitation zones. Fine crushing of grains occurs due to mechanical effects from collapsing cavitation bubbles, saccharification occurs continuously with starch extraction – which is fast and maximized – and thermal activation of enzymes. The expulsion of undesired volatile compounds is continuous and total, sterilization occurs at moderate temperatures, and the extraction of valuable compounds from hops completes at temperatures lower than the boiling point.
Separation of clarified wort from solids is performed by a centrifuge-decanter, and devices realized based on the new beer-brewing concept are compact, safe, and robust, while cleaning is easy, automatic, and fast.
The developed technology is stable and proven at the industrial scale.
At the current stage, next steps concern the industrial and market exploitation.
Therefore, the researchers (patent owners) are looking for industrial partnership for joint venture agreements or license agreements, with various options:
• Patent licensing for any end use, such as beer production, or manufacturing of devices for craft and industrial breweries;
• Sale/licensing of patent ownership shares for joint development through the creation of a new entity (joint venture agreement)
• Patent (technology) sale.

Advantages and Innovations

In the last decade, technologies based on controlled hydrodynamic cavitation have been applied to food liquids, with great results. In fact it has been demonstrated HC-based technologies can replace conventional ones in the field of food liquids processing, with distinct advantages, such as more efficient food-grade pasteurization, sterilization, and homogenization, faster processing, lower energy consumption, while boosting the extraction of valuable bioactive compounds and leading to healthier products, as well as reducing waste generation. 
The Italian researchers, for the first time, have applied the HC to the beer sector, replacing the most critical steps from dry milling of the grains, to hopping and wort boiling, with decisive and proven advantages, representing a radical industrial novelty. The potential applications cover the whole beer manufacturing industry, at any scale, including any recipe and beer style.
In fact the HC-assisted brewing processes achieved a dramatic reduction of saccharification temperature, along with acceleration and increase of starch extraction, making traditional stages such as dry milling of malts and wort-boiling unnecessary at all, leading to significant time and energy savings, the latter estimated at a level well above 30%. In particular, typical saccharification temperatures decrease to values lower than 40°C, i.e. more than 30°C lower than in traditional brewing processes, tough with a strong dependence on the HC regimes due to the sensitivity of enzymes’ viability to cavitation aggressiveness.
Furthermore, foamability and foam stability were proven too, as well as sensorial quality of final products were found indistinguishable from craft products based on the same recipes. No oxidation of beer wort or final product was observed.
As well, special cavitation regimes were identified to reduce gluten concentration.

Stage Of Development

Available for demonstration

Requested partner

The reserachers are looking for industries for licence agreement - (Licensee for manufacturing industrial-size beer brewing plants). The partner sought should be a beer producer or a company interested in plant manufacturing or system integration for the brewing/beverage industry

The research team is also interested in finding a partner (above all industrial partner) for the creation of a new entity for the joint development of the technological progect.

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