Novozymes invests microbial control tech from Lyras for ‘less downtime, more efficiency and cost savings’

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Lyras UV tech replaces pasturizaion and filtration / Lyras
Lyras UV tech replaces pasturizaion and filtration / Lyras

Related tags Novozymes Food tech Enzymes

Biotech group Novozymes has invested in new ‘energy-friendly’ raslysation technology developed by Danish company Lyras to replace filtration processes. It is expected to result in lower costs and increased efficiency.

Novozymes has purchased its first UV system based on raslysation technology, which inactivates microorganisms in drinks and other opaque liquids by way of UV light. The system will be installed at its production facility in Kalundborg.

Adopting raslysation technology is going to improve work environment and reduce energy consumption for the global market leader in industrial enzymes, the company predicted. The aim is to replace labour intensive filtration systems, while providing increased safety and lower energy consumption.

What is raslysation?

Because a number of enzymes can’t withstand the high temperatures of pasteurization, Novozymes today uses classic depth-filtration to remove the bio-burden in its products. “Our employees replace heavy sets of filter plates daily as part of the purification process for the finished enzyme concentrate,”​ revealed Steen Skaerbaek, Senior Director at Novozymes.

Raslysation technology has the potential to revolutionise this process. It uses a UV light source combined with a light filter that concentrates a specific type of UV light. A liquid is directed past the light source in a ‘controlled movement’ so that the entire liquid is illuminated. This technique effectively inactivates bacteria. At the same time, it preserves more of the natural taste, vitamins and proteins. The technique can be applied to a range of liquid foods and fluids.

Lyras’ technology for inactivating microorganisms with UV light instead of heat has previously been called ‘cold pasteurization’. However, the company said, as the words ‘cold’ and ‘pasteurization’ are contradictory, the technology has – raslysation – derived from the first three letters of inventor, Rasmus Mortensen’s name, and the Danish word for light.

“Raslysation relieves us from [the depth filtration] procedure. Simultaneously, we gain even more control of unwanted microbial activity in our processes. We also expect to see a difference in our energy bill. All things considered, raslysation fits into Novozymes’ green strategy in every way,”​ Skaerbaek elaborated.

Improved energy and efficiency

According to Lyras, the ‘groundbreaking’ technique is far less energy-intensive than traditional pasteurization and filtration methods. Raslysation saves 60-90% of the energy and 60-80% of the water that traditional pasteurization requires, the company revealed.

“We expect the technology to save energy when fully implemented,”​ Ruben Riksted, Lyras Marketing Manager, told FoodNavigator. “However, for the use with enzyme treatment this is not the largest advantage. The largest saving will come in the amount of work hours that can be reduced and the amount of depth filters that will no longer be necessary. The removal of these filters can save a lot of money and waste, since the filters are one-time use and need to be changed daily. The cleaning process of the equipment [will be] much simpler with raslysation. The simplified process will also ensure less wasted product and more production hours.”

Less downtime and increased efficiency are expected to result in cost savings, Riksted continued. “At Lyras we expect the cost-savings related to not using the depth filters in the process will return the investment in 3-5 years. To be added to this is the easier cleaning, more operating hours, the optimization of manual labour and simplified processing,”​ he elaborated.

The current inflationary environment and energy crisis gripping Europe has placed cost reduction in the spotlight. However, Riksted placed this within the longer-term context of increasing sector sustainability and delivering affordable prices for consumers. “Reducing cost of operation is one of the parameters that gives any company an advantage over their competitors. Here we believe that new technology will reduce the overall cost of production and for the consumer. When companies invest in sustainable replacements to their current technology it will also have environmental advantages which will save money for the companies since they do not have to buy climate credits but will also help lessen the severity of future climate disasters.”

Indeed, this is an important pillar of Lyras’ mission. The company has set a goal to reduce the world’s CO2 emissions by more than one million tonnes by 2030 through the implementation of its raslysation units in the liquid processing industry.

Novozymes' new raslysation system will be able to treat 45,000 litres of industrial enzyme liquid per hour and the company has plans for further rollout of the tech. “Once the UV technology provides the expected results at Novozymes’ location in Kalundborg, the next logistical step will be to install Lyras’ UV technology at several of our global strategic sites, that produce high-value enzymes and proteins for the food industry,”​ Skaerbaek revealed.

Lyras CTO Nete Zarp Nielsen said Novozymes should be acknowledged for its willingness to invest in new green technology. “You have to give big, recognized companies like Novozymes props for leading by example and integrating new and green technologies. Novozymes has been a fantastic partner in the process of testing and designing the optimal solution. We are proud that together we have created the basis for a system that a company with Novozymes’ high level of research would want to invest in and use globally in future,”​ Nielsen noted.

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