Porifera approved for $4.5M grants to advance energy efficiency in food and beverage industry
Innovative forward osmosis solutions will demonstrate energy efficiency and water reuse solutions for California's food and beverage industry
Both of the company's Concentrator and Recycler technologies were selected to receive awards from the CEC's $18 million "Bringing Rapid Innovation Development to Green Energy" program to help California's food processing industry achieve state energy goals through technological advancement.
Porifera has developed a proprietary process for the osmotically driven purification of water or concentration of products through a semipermeable membrane without the use of heat or pressure. The company's technology has several advantages for food and beverage applications because it can operate reliably when processing challenging liquids that clog or foul other types of membranes. This innovative approach reduces the energy, chemicals, and maintenance required to produce high-quality food and beverage concentrates and to improve industrial water reuse capabilities.
At the CEC business meeting on March 12, the Commission approved the agreements for Porifera to receive the funding for two projects, based on the success of previously funded projects. "The company has made significant advances in the development of their Concentrator system," Commission Specialist Rachel Salazar said at the meeting.
Porifera will demonstrate the commercial-scale Concentrator system at a watermelon processing plant in California's Central Valley during three consecutive summer growing seasons. The company's unique, cold processing solution "gently extracts water from fruit, creating concentrates with more natural color, taste, and nutrients than are conventionally produced using heat," Salazar continued. The Concentrator will remove water from watermelon juice, demonstrating reduced energy costs and providing an improved concentrated product.
The second project will allow Frito-Lay to demonstrate how the Porifera Recycler will clean water for reuse from industrial wastewater streams. The technology will reduce energy, chemicals, and maintenance required for wastewater treatment. This will allow the Frito-Lay site to reduce waste disposal fees, increase water availability for production and reduce overall energy use by 30-50%.
"These grants will provide opportunities for commercial demonstration of the wide-ranging benefits of Porifera's forward osmosis technologies to reduce energy consumption and improve water reuse for development of food products," Porifera CEO Olgica Bakajin commented. "We are proud to apply our technologies to advance the state's energy goals and help California food processing and production industries remain competitive in the global marketplace."
Porifera is a San Leandro, California-based company which manufactures proprietary forward osmosis membranes and provides process solutions to a variety of industries. Porifera's innovative forward osmosis solutions enable industries to efficiently remove water and retain only the most valuable components of their products. This unique technology facilitates the reduction of water waste, improvements to water reuse, and more efficient processing solutions to create better products using less energy. For more information, visit www.porifera.com.