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Asahi Kasei Develops New Forward Osmosis Membrane System for High-Level Concentration of Liquids without Heating or Pressurization

Asahi Kasei has developed an original forward osmosis (FO) membrane system for the high-level concentration of liquids by dehydration without heating or pressurization. The company is currently fabricating small and medium-sized equipment to be loaned to food and pharmaceutical manufacturers for introduction on a trial basis, with commercialization targeted in 2020.

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Schematic diagram of the FO system (Graphic: Business Wire)

Schematic diagram of the FO system (Graphic: Business Wire)

Components of foods, beverages, and pharmaceuticals are often concentrated to heighten the composition of aromas, flavors, or active ingredients, to reduce the costs of shipment and storage. Distillation and reverse osmosis, the conventional methods of concentration, entail heating or pressurization which may deteriorate the quality of many components. Asahi Kasei believes the newly developed FO system can efficiently concentrate such components at a high level while maintaining their quality.

Asahi Kasei developed the FO system based on its extensive membrane technology in applications ranging from virus removal to water clarification. While avoiding the need for heating or pressurization, the new system also features a concentration rate three times higher than that of reverse osmosis. Studies indicate that the FO system is able to concentrate brewed coffee by a factor of ten while maintaining the original condition of aroma and flavor components, even in the presence of solid components.

Features of the FO system

  • Concentration rate 3 times higher than with reverse osmosis
  • High-level concentration while maintaining quality of components susceptible to heat
  • Concentration speed (dehydration speed):
    200 g/h with small equipment, 15 kg/h with medium-sized equipment

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