Asahi Kasei has developed an original forward osmosis (FO) membrane system for the high-level concentration of liquids by dehydration without heating or pressurization. The company is currently fabricating small and medium-sized equipment to be loaned to food and pharmaceutical manufacturers for introduction on a trial basis, with commercialization targeted in 2020.
Tokyo/Japan — Components of foods, beverages, and pharmaceuticals are often concentrated to heighten the composition of aromas, flavors, or active ingredients, to reduce the costs of shipment and storage. Distillation and reverse osmosis, the conventional methods of concentration, entail heating or pressurization which may deteriorate the quality of many components. Asahi Kasei believes the newly developed FO system can efficiently concentrate such components at a high level while maintaining their quality.
The Japanese company developed the FO system based on its membrane technology in applications ranging from virus removal to water clarification. While avoiding the need for heating or pressurization, the new system also features a concentration rate three times higher than that of reverse osmosis, the company states. Studies indicated that the FO system was able to concentrate brewed coffee by a factor of ten while maintaining the original condition of aroma and flavor components, even in the presence of solid components.