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Ventilation Waste Heat Recovery (VWHR) in Food Processes


The overall objective of this project is to reduce energy costs in food processes by recovering ventilation waste heat. <P>
Specific objectives include the following: <OL> <LI> Identify VWHR techniques and equipment that show potential application for the food processing industry of Oklahoma. <LI> Develop or demonstrate at least two systems of VWHR in food processes that can be used by the industry of Oklahoma. <LI> Prepare a practical means of extension education for the techniques identified in objective number two that is intended to result in widespread use of the techniques. <LI> Develop at least one new method or means of VWHR that includes innovative equipment and/or the improvement of existing equipment or processes.

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NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Saving energy is a high priority for food processors and ventilation waste heat (from ovens, cookers, dryers, and other processing sources) is an underutilized resource. Ventilation waste heat recovery (VWHR) has been established as an essential technology for commercial, institutional, and industrial heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, but is not widely used in food processing operations. VWHR can be successfully applied in the food industry when food safety and economics issues are resolved. The goal of this project is to identify promising VWHR technologies for the food processing industry and develop and promote them for long-term implementation. Other benefits of VWHR include a reduction in pollution (less fuel is burned and less flue gas is produced) and reduced equipment sizes. the present outlook for VWHR in food processing operations is promising and timely. The high cost of energy and food processing equipment make VWHR economically feasible
APPROACH: 1. Identify Ventilation Waste Heat Recovery (VWHR) techniques that show the most promise for the food processing industry. This step will begin with a comprehensive review of the state-of-the-art of VWHR in Oklahoma and neighboring states, and a review of the pertinent literature. A survey of Oklahoma's food processors is vital to determine their needs, commonalties and potential for impact on the state's economy. The survey will be coordinated with other members of the FAPC and the "value-added" faculty of OSU. Much of the information to be learned will be uncovered by site visits and discussion with others that are familiar with the issues. Information for the literature review will be obtained from applied food science literature and recent issues of food processing trade publications. This information will indicate trends in the industry and illuminate possible, future directions for research. Literature will be obtained from studies conducted in other industries, such as oil and gas processors, the heavy machinery industry and consumer electronics, which commonly utilize waste heat recovery in their processes. Many techniques and some of the technology developed for these industries can be adapted for food processing. An economic analysis of the VWHR system will be conducted to identify return on investment (ROI). <P>

2. Develop VWHR techniques for use by the food industry through experimentation and discussion with FAPC clients. Using the literature review as a basis, it may be possible to develop a VWHR program for selected food processors that provides immediate and verifiable results. Experimentation will be necessary when heat recovery techniques have not been applied to food processes. Industrial partners will be encouraged to participate in experimental programs through their own desire to improve, support provided by the FAPC, and grant monies. A study that is already under development provides an example. The goal of the study is to optimize the dehydration process for jerky products. A full-scale jerky dehydrator has been outfitted with an AAHX to recover waste ventilation heat. A complete feasibility study on the application of a waste heat recovery AAHX in the jerky dehydration system will be conducted. Since the system is full-scale, results will apply directly to industry. <P>

3. Develop an implementation plan for information dissemination and training. Since any waste heat recovery technique is only useful if implemented in good order, a simple, foolproof plan of execution must be formulated, reviewed and refined through repeated application. Workshops and presentations will be used to develop the framing of techniques for end users. Demonstrations, technical application bulletins (fact sheets), instructional videos, training workshops, production tests and mock trials are potential extension techniques to be used in this effort. The final results will include refereed publications detailing VWHR techniques and equipment. <P>
4. New applications for VWHR will be developed after surveying the food processors of Oklahoma and reviewing the literature.

Bowser, Tim
Oklahoma State University
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