A German R&D organization with extensive expertise of more than 30 years in food, aquaculture, biomass, and process engineering has developed a state-of-the-art fish processing system. This processing system is based on an innovative ultrasonic humidification technology which produces the finest aerosols with a very small diameter. The piezoelectric transducer in the humidifier produces the finest capillary waves and uses mechanical vibration to create aerosol droplets from the water surface. The aerosol droplets with very small diameter create a free floating misty environment, which is very conducive for defrosting of fish. The acceleration of the rate of defrosting is due to the enhanced relative humidity and the optimized heat and mass transfer inside the defrosting chamber. The main goal of utilizing ultrasonic humidification is to reduce energy consumption and increase the quality of products.
The ultrasonic frequency (at least > 1MHz) is used to generate the finest acoustic waves which can be in turn used to generate finest aerosol droplets with a diameter of ~0.001-0.005 mm. Thus, the free floating aerosols enhance the relative humidity in the defrosting chamber by upto 99%. This prevents the drying out of products and also reduces the weight and water losses in the fish stored in the defrosting chamber. The cold aerosols generated from the humidification technology result in increasing heat transfer. This enables complete defrosting of fish in 80 minutes as compared to conventional processes which take about 275 minutes. This aids in reduction of process time by 70%. The aerosol technology also results in minimizing weight loss of fish from ~8% to 1%. The core temperature of the defrosting process can be easily varied from -5 degrees C to +30 degrees C. This helps in maintaining the structure of fish and also preserving the color and the surface of fish products inside the defrosting chamber.
The defrosting process will be suitable for a wide range of applications in various food and beverage industries, especially in the storage of frozen foods. The technology will also find extensive utilization in restaurants and supermarkets for the storage of meat, aquaculture products, and other frozen foods. Shipping containers which transport seafood over long distances can also use this technology in order to maintain the shelf life of the products as well as their nutritional value.
This technology creates opportunities for partnerships with several governmental and non-governmental organizations associated with aquaculture and food processing. More service offers based on technology transfer, research and development, innovation management, training, and education can also be provided to other industries. Future technologies using ultrasonic humidification will also result in minimized production of brine, which can have a negative impact on the environment.
The benefits of using the ultrasonic humidification technology in the food industry include the following: