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Sistema altamente eficiente de secado a baja temperatura asistido por ultrasonido


Oferta Tecnológica
Un grupo de investigación español ha desarrollado un nuevo prototipo de ultrasonido de alta intensidad que se aplica de forma asequible en liofilización de alimentos como especias, té, frutas, vegetales, carne o pescado. El sistema está en escala semipiloto. Las áreas de aplicación actuales y potenciales se encuentran en las industrias de alimentación, farmacia, biotecnología y química. Se buscan socios con el fin de licenciar la patente o establecer acuerdos de cooperación técnica para el desarrollo a escala industrial y explotación comercial de la tecnología.


A highly efficient system of low-temperature drying assisted by ultrasound
Spanish researchers have developed a new high intensity ultrasonic prototype that will permit an affordable application of freeze drying to common foods as spices, teas, fruits, vegetables, meat or fish. Partners are sought for patent licensing agreement or for technical cooperation agreement for the development of this technology at industrial level and its commercial exploitation.
The drying techniques at low temperature, like freeze-drying, allow obtaining high quality products. However, the drying conditions and the low drying rate, make these techniques very expensive, by which are only applied for high added value products. Therefore, there is a high interest for the search of alternatives that intensify drying allowing obtaining in shorter time high quality products at lower cost. In this sense, the efficient application of high intensity ultrasound during drying generates effects that improve dehydration, increasing processing rate without significantly heating the product.
The research group has developed an invention consisting of an ultrasonically assisted dryer, being its feasibility in low-temperature (lower than 10 ªC) drying demonstrated. It is not known other technologies that have achieved the successful results obtained by this system. It must be highlighted that in this case, researchers developed the whole process, from the ultrasound generation equipment, specifically designed for this application, to its implementation and control during the drying process.
Moreover, it can be highlighted that this technology can be used not only for drying operations but also for removing any kind of solvent from solid or semisolids matrixes, for example, the removal of organic solvents from pharmaceutical products.
Nowadays, the system is developed at semi-pilot scale. Therefore, it exist the need of collaboration with manufacturers of machinery and equipment for the industry to establish a technical agreement to scale up this technology at pilot/industrial level and, afterwards, commercialize the new equipment by license agreement.
Several companies from different sectors such as pharmaceutical, food, biotechnology, have expressed their interest in this technology, but no agreement has been reached due to the lack of a capital goods company interested in developing this technology at industrial level.
Current and potential domain of application:
· Food Industry
For all kind of foodstuff including the high added value products (instant coffee, foodstuff for mountaineer, fruits for cereals breakfast, instant milks, flavoring products or culinary essences) and the daily consumption foods (spices, infusions, meats, fishes, fruits and vegetables)
· Pharmaceutical and Biotechnological Industry
Reagents, vitamins, blood plasma, and other products that need easy transport, storage and high capacity of reconstitution for their consumption.
· Chemical Industry
It is possible to apply to a wide kind of operations like purification process to eliminate solvents. In general to enhance mass transfer.

Advantages and Innovations:
In addition to energy savings and processing time, it is worth to note:
- Compared with vacuum freeze-drying: no vacuum is need, then it is possible the continuous processing.
- Compared with atmospheric freeze-drying: a significant increase of drying rate and reduction of drying time is found.
- Compared with other novel technologies (microwave, infrared radiation, electric pulses, etc): thermal degradation of quality attributes is avoided.
- Compared with hot air drying: no thermal degradation takes place.
- Compared with alternative processes for the removal of contaminant traces: low temperature process is used and ultrasound vibration facilitates the removal of traces.
- This technology may be applied to solvent and only to aqueous means.
- The equipment is fully developed, including ultrasound generator and control equipment.
- It may be used in solid and semisolid matrixes.
Stage of Development:
Available for demonstration
Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
- Type of partner sought:
Companies, Manufacturers of chemical/biochemical/food-processing capital goods.
- Specific area of activity of the partner:
Food, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology or Chemical equipment user and/or manufacturer
- Task to be performed:
Patent license agreements and/or technical cooperation agreements for the development of the technology to the industrial application and their commercial exploitation. Design and construction of pilot plant as a demonstrator. Scale-up this technology adapting it to the requirements of the final clients.


Type and Size of Client:
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Languages Spoken:


Technology Keywords:
03004007 Fármacos
03002 Ingeniería de plantas de proceso
04002006 Intercambiadores de calor
08001004 Procesado de alimentos