Sintef Energy Research AS
energy use and technology for the food industry
We focus on finding solutions related to power production and conversion, transmission / distribution and the end use of energy both onshore and offshore/subsea.
We cover all the key areas from the indoor climate and energy use in buildings to gas technology, combustion, bioenergy, refrigeration engineering and technology for the food and nutrition industry.
One of the most widely used techniques for maintaining the quality of food and extending its storage life is refrigeration or freezing. Just in Norway, food that requires refrigeration or freezing represents a value of over NOK 150 million each day. The increasing demand for fresh produce, processing in small portions places even more stringent requirements on the correct functioning of refrigeration equipment.
The whole of the refrigeration chain from when a fish is caught at sea to when it arrives on the kitchen bench demands that the temperature is kept under control. Consequently there must be adequate refrigeration onboard the fishing vessel, in the fish processing plant, during transport, whilst in the shop and at home because the temperature affects the quality and the durability of food.
Apart from freezing and refrigeration, drying without additives is another natural method of conservation for foodstuffs. By selecting the correct temperature, moisture and drying time, biological material can be dried for many applications. An example is slowing the sinking rate for feed pellets in fish farming.
Our work is focused on the interaction between equipment and the produce, where knowledge of how heat is transferred and transported to and from products is vital. A central issue is the development of equipment that can safeguard food quality. Apart from understanding the construction and operation of refrigeration systems, activities are built on our competence in industrial processing and the distribution of food, logistics, heat transfer in packed and unpacked goods (chilling, freezing, thawing), heat-pump drying of food and feed (at low, medium and high temperatures), as well as measuring food quality (sensory and instrumental)