The development of a substitute for diatomite in precoat filtration in the brewing industry is the subject of a joint research project between Kelheim Fibres, manufacturer of viscose speciality fibers, and Krones AG, a producer of beverage and food technologies, which has been running since mid-2013.
The main focus of the project is the clarification of the beer and its physical stabilization by the use of functional viscose fibers, which can also be adapted to meet the specific filtration requirements of the beer.
Both research partners, Kelheim Fibres GmbH and Krones AG, are contributing their industry-specific expertise to the project and the practical evaluation of viscose fibers in beer filtration. This joint research project is subsidized by the Bavarian Ministry for Economy and Media, Energy and Technology in the context of the program “New Materials”.
In recent years diatomite has come under criticism as its heavy dust emissions have proven to be damaging to the health of the user’s operatives and because of the increased cost of disposal. Viscose fibers consist of 100% cellulose making them renewable and environmentally sound. They are biodegradable and compostable. Viscose fibers are neutral in taste, physiologically and hygienically sound and therefore ideally suited for applications in sensitive food applications.
In the past, there have been attempts to substitute diatomite by alternative filter media, such as virgin cellulose fibers. The new joint research project takes this idea one step further. In contrast to virgin cellulosic fibers, viscose fibers are regenerated cellulosic fibers and therefore their physical and chemical properties can be adapted to meet the needs of the user. It is therefore possible to control the parameters of filtration—such as the degree of filtration, the pressure drop or the selective removal of
undesired elements—in a precise and custom-designed way.