Ongoing innovation project at Graintec: improving pellet quality and energy efficiency in Salmon/Trout feed drying installations
We currently have two major projects located in our Business and Technology Development department. One of these is an Industrial PhD Project, which is run by Anders Haubjerg. The project is conducted in collaboration with the University of Southern Denmark.
The project aims to improve energy efficiency in dryers and shall help GRAINTEC to optimize the design of especially salmon/trout feed drying installations with regard to energy efficiency and product quality. The improved design will be available for GRAINTEC’s customers to predict specific energy consumption and final technical quality of produced fish feed pellets, as a response to the conditions used in the drying process. Thus, the key objective in the project is to relate specific energy consumption and expected technical quality to drying parameters; air temperature, retention time, bed depth, moisture content of product, air humidity and zone-wise variations of the aforementioned.
A large part of the project will rely on mathematical models of the drying process to predict the energy consumption. However, models are only as good as their actual ability to predict reality. Therefore we have established collaboration with Wenger in the demonstration of the model behavior on a new Laboratory Scale dryer. The dryer has been custom built by Wenger to suit the demands for validating the new drying model.
The potential of obtaining a multi physical description of parameters in the drying process which give rise to the formation of structural properties in low starch-based, porous pellets constitutes the research value in this project. In the project we have so far established knowledge of the structural mechanics in fish feed pellets, which promote mechanical durability. It was found that particular viscoelastic properties of a pellet give good mechanical durability, when measured in the DORIS tester.
From the project we hope to obtain better knowledge on how to obtain a reproducible, high pellet quality without compromising energy-efficiency. The last few weeks, Anders has been focusing on optimizing the performance and operation of the Lab Dryer:
“I have connected power and steam and installed a fan in the power cabinet, various safeguards anti-vibration utility, and isolation around ductwork. I am now working on calibration and validation of sensor readings for air humidity and we also need to rewrite some signals in the software.”
The project, which was initiated in September 2012 is scheduled to be finalized in April 2016.
Pictures: Graintec / Aktuel Naturvidenskab