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Teagasc tests Austrian steam injector

18 September 2010

An aviation-science inspired steam-injector developed by Austrian company “Maklad” is now being tested by Teagasc, the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Agency, as part of a three-year study into reducing costs and energy in the lucrative beverages sector.  

With cows grazing outdoors for ten months of the year, it should come as no surprise that Ireland produces not only the highest quality milk but also up to 10% of the world’s baby-formula. Top international names such as Pfizer, Abbot and Danone manufacture baby formula in Ireland and the Pfizer plant in Askeaton, Co. Tipperary is the largest baby-formula plant in the world. Now, pioneering researchers at the Teagasc Research Centre in Fermoy, using an invention by an Austrian company, are set to improve efficiencies in cost and in energy consumption during the manufacturing process.

When Jaber Maklad began his studies as an aviation engineer, he never dreamed that one day he would use his experience to improve process engineering. Today, the steam injector he designed is used successfully in the food, pharmaceutical and biogas industries. Improvements in processing milk, fruit juices, whipped cream, ice cream, ketchup and cheese are all attributed to his steam injector. In the pharmaceutical industry the invention is used to reduce the content of micro-organisms in biological waste water.

Maklad’s award-winning injector accelerates steam to the speed of sound to create shockwaves at high temperatures. This allows foods with a very high solid content to be processed at high temperatures. It results in a more environmentally friendly production process with a smaller carbon footprint and lower overall energy costs.

Jaber Maklad holding his award-winning invention

Jaber Maklad holding his award-winning invention 

Recently, the Maklad steam injector came to the attention of researchers at the Teagasc Food Research Centre in Fermoy, Co. Cork. The provision of the injector by Maklad’s Irish partner, Liquid Technologies, facilitated a major four-year food research project. The project objective was to improve process technology in the manufacture of nutritional beverages, in particular for infant formula. If successful, the project will simplify the manufacturing process and achieve significant cost reductions.