2012 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The main objectives of this proposed project are to quantify and demonstrate the energy and water saving capability, process efficiency and product quality improvement of Infrared Radiation (IR) heating technology for processing fruits and vegetables. The demonstration will focus on two novel applications of SIRFD and SIRDBD to various fruit and vegetable products including sliced strawberries, carrots, potatoes and zucchinis. The benefits of using these new IR processing technologies will be quantified, demonstrated, transferred to industry and publicized in both scientific and popular press, and media. The full scale IR processing unit will also be used to develop novel drying processes for other shelf-stable fruit and vegetable products.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The new processing technologies will be demonstrated at two different processing facilities. During the demonstrations, energy consumption and product quality will be measured, recorded, statistically analyzed and compared with the current processing methods. Based on the results obtained from the demonstrations, the operational and design parameters for commercial scale IR heating devices for specific applications will be optimized. Dissemination of the information will be realized through progress reports, publications and on-site seminars.
During the past year, the IR equipment has been modified and finalized. The continuous IR heating system has been assembled as a compact IR mobile unit equipped with an automatically controlled variable speed belt and catalytic emitters using natural gas. The effective heating area is 5 x 15 feet. The IR intensity or heat delivered can be controlled. The new mobile IR equipment is 77 inches high, 240 inches long and 77 inches wide.
Preliminary tests were completed at the equipment manufacturing site to examine performance of the unit on potatoes, carrots, bell peppers and onions. Six suitable industrial partners have been identified through booths we housed at various trade shows and we are now arranging times to demonstrate this technology on-site at these food manufacturers using our mobile IR unit. The first trial will occur in mid September at a large vegetable processor. All parent project objectives were addressed. In addition, a previous CRADA partner licensed the patent application on infrared dry blanching.