Our R&D activities can be summed up in our core value proposition and corporate claim: “engineering for a better world.” By developing more efficient products and process solutions, GEA contributes to the responsible development of value creation processes, sustainable management and the protection of the natural environment. In addition to our own in-house R&D activities, GEA participates in diverse projects which involve customers, suppliers as well as research partners, the public sector and selected start-ups.
For this reason, a number of key R&D efforts focus on the development of efficient process technologies and their contribution to value creation processes. Following this strategy, GEA is able to positively contribute to mitigating the effects of macroeconomic trends, such as growing world population, urbanization and rising energy costs. These trends and effects are particularly relevant for our customers in the food and pharmaceutical sectors, where consumers expect very high standards to be met in terms of the safety, quality and service life of their products, a challenge that may only be met with the help of industrial process engineering.
Algae has an important role to play given its high nutritional value and usability in diverse applications. If produced at scale, algae can be used in feed and feed additives, biostimulants, biofertilizers and biopesticides. To this end, GEA is participating in the EU Horizon 2020 project, SABANA (Sustainable Algae Biorefinery for Agriculture and Aquaculture), which has set up a microalgae cultivation and production facility in Spain.
As part of the EU-funded Pro-Enrich project, GEA is working with food manufacturers to develop functional proteins and bioactive ingredients from olive, rapeseed, tomato and citrus fruit side streams for use in food, cosmetics, pet food and adhesives.
The environmental impact of conventional protein production within the agriculture and fish industries requires action and will worsen as the population grows. Insects, a valuable source of protein and fat, could be a solution, as their breeding and maintenance require fewer resources when compared with their nutritional benefits. As a substitute for fish meal, they also reduce overfishing of the oceans.
Bilge water on ships is generated by the ingress of salt water combined with leaking cooling water, fuel oil and lubricating oil. The GEA BilgeMaster – a separator designed specifically for cleaning bilge water – guarantees a residual oil content of less than 5 parts per million (ppm) in treated bilge water; the International Maritime Organization requires residual oil content of less than 15 ppm.
Animal health, product quality, productivity and profitability are key in the dairy industry. To that end, GEA launched a cell counting sensor GEA DairyMilk M6850, the world's first somatic cell counting system that focuses on each udder quarter individually throughout the milking process. This award-winning technology shortens treatment times as well as the healing process, ensure the productivity and health of dairy herds.
> 69 applications filed for new patent families in 2018
> Roughly 1,000 patent families held by GEA
> Roughly 4,700 individual GEA patents held