Friday 31 January 2014

Kelheim Fibres and Krones develop alternative medium for beer filtration

The development of a substitute for diatomite in precoat filtration in the brewing industry is the subject of a joint research project between Kelheim Fibres, world leading manufacturer of viscose speciality fibres, and Krones AG, globally successful producer of beverage and food technologies, which has been running since mid-2013.

In recent years diatomite has come under criticism as its heavy dust emissions have proven to be damaging to the health of the user’s operatives and because the increased cost of disposal. Viscose fibres consist of 100% cellulose and are therefore renewable and environmentally sound. They are completely biodegradable and compostable. Viscose fibres are neutral in taste, physiologically and hygienically sound and therefore ideally suited for applications in sensitive food applications.

In the past, there have already been attempts to substitute diatomite by alternative filter media, such as virgin cellulose fibres. Viscose fibres - an environmentally sound and tailor-made alternative. The new joint research project takes this idea one step further: in contrast to virgin cellulosic fibres, viscose fibres are regenerated cellulosic fibres and therefore their physical and chemical properties can be perfectly adapted to meet the needs of the user. It is therefore possible to control the parameters of filtration – such as the degree of filtration, the pressure drop or the selective removal of undesired elements – in a precise and custom-designed way.

First results of the joint research project demonstrate a high level of suitability of Kelheim Fibres viscose products as a filtering aid. The main focus of the project is the clarification of the beer and its physical stabilisation by the use of functional viscose fibres, which can also be adapted to meet the specific filtration requirements of the beer.

Both research partners, Kelheim Fibres GmbH and Krones AG, are contributing their industry-specific expertise to the project and the practical evaluation of viscose fibres in beer filtration – and by so doing are laying the best foundations for the success of the project.

This joint research project is subsidised by the Bavarian Ministry for Economy and Media, Energy and Technology in the context of the program “New Materials.

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