Cross Flow Filtration for Sugar, Starch and Sweeteners

GEA technology is increasingly used in the sugar, starch and sweetener industry to improve yields, and reduce production costs. Many new processes, pioneered by GEA, are now becoming accepted commercially as the technology of choice.

Membrane filtration is quickly gaining acceptance in the sugar, starch and sweetener industry with producers benefiting from improved yields, reduced costs, more efficient use of power and natural resources and the opportunity of producing specialty products.

Sugar, starch and sweeteners

The sugar, starch and sweetener industry in developed countries has been under pressure for many years because of high energy and labor costs, and environmental requirements.  To meet these challenges, GEA has been driven many new application developments for membrane filtration that have improved yields and product quality while reducing energy and water consumption. These developments offer economic and technical advantages, when used either as standalone processes or in combination with other established technologies.

New applications for membrane filtration

Some of the following applications have been successfully commercialized while others are in semi-commercial stages or pilot R&D:

  • The treatment of evaporator condensates and other dilute waste streams by Reverse Osmosis Polishers (ROP) to improve effluent discharges. 
  • The removal of color bodies and recovery of salts from ion-exchange regenerants using nanofiltration. 
  • The clarification of saccharification tank liquor to remove solid starch, polysaccharides and proteinaceous matter and other impurities by microfiltration. The process has been successfully applied to sweeteners derived from various starch sources - corn, wheat, tapioca, potatoes or cassava. It eliminates use of diatomaceous earth in rotary vacuum filters, while producing a superior quality product. 
  • Microfiltration is also used for clarification of maltodextrins, depyrogenation of dextrose, final filtration of dextrose and fructose syrups. 
  • Dextrose enrichment with the separation of DP1 (degree of polymerisaton) from the higher sugars using selective nanofiltration membranes. 
  • Reverse osmosis is used for the concentration of dilute sugar streams and in some cases as a pre-concentration step prior to evaporation.