How power ultrasound helps you improve processing

How power ultrasound helps you improve processing

10 December 2021 | Robbie McGill, Process Technologist

As many companies look to improve the efficiency of their processes and reduce energy and water usage, ultrasound has emerged as an assistive technology for a wide variety of applications in the food and drink industry. Previously having been proven in laboratory and pilot scale operations, power ultrasound now has a proven track record in industrial settings, actively providing reduced operating costs, product wastage and processing times on a variety of products. Ultrasound has been used to assist the processing for a wide variety of applications in the food and drink industry, even in processes with high throughputs.

Ultrasound mainly affects products with a phenomenon called cavitation, where micro bubbles are generated which rapidly expand and shrink until they reach a critical point and implode. This implosion can create local temperatures of up to 5000K and pressure of up to 1000 bar, which can lead to many processing benefits. In freezing, cavitation can lead to increased heat transfer, allowing for faster freezing of products and the generation of smaller ice crystals avoiding excess damage that may occur with traditional freezing. This technology is already available for the industry.

Increased mass transfer as a result of ultrasound can also be used for extraction applications such as the extraction of compounds from teas and coffees, protein from insects and even dry hopping in the brewing of beer, an application that has been explored in the latest published R&D report.

The acoustic oscillations from the air-coupled ultrasound can be used in defoaming applications such as the production of soft drinks. It works by causing the liquid to drain from the bubbles in the foam until they become unstable and collapse. This technology has proven benefits such as reduced rejects, increased filling speed, reduced packaging contamination and increased filling temperature.

There are a multitude of applications the ultrasound can be used in:

  • Extraction
  • De-foaming
  • Mass transfer
  • Microbial inactivation
  • Heat transfer
  • Viscosity modification
  • Freezing/Crystallisation

As part of our New technologies member funded research project, Campden BRI has published a New technology bulletin detailing the many applications that ultrasound can be employed in on an industrial scale as well as the benefits this can provide.

In addition, Campden BRI has also published an R&D report exploring the use of ultrasound in brewing applications. This report explores the extraction and mass transfer applications of ultrasound that can be applied in the brewing industry, studying the hydration of barley and impacts of accelerating dry hopping extraction and its effects on the quality of the resultant beer.

New technologies research

As part of the member funded research project, Campden BRI research emerging technologies of interest to the food and drink industry. Recently, this has led to the power ultrasound research project and its applications for the industry.

If you are a member of Campden BRI, you can access the current status of this project, the New technology bulletin and R&D report associated to it featuring three case studies of ultrasound applied in pilot scale brewing.

We’re always looking for feedback on technologies to explore or review. Submit your suggestions to so we can investigate technologies that interest you.

Video: Power ultrasound technology in food processing

Power ultrasound is a versatile technique which has many applications in processing and is effective in microbial inactivation.

Watch video

New technologies for food manufacturing

Take a look at the member funded research project: New technologies for food and drink manufacturing

View project

More on New technology

Factory worker operating pulsed electric field kit in pilot plant

Achieving sustainability and efficiency through new technologies

By adopting advanced technologies and best practices, manufacturers can improve the efficiency and sustainability of many different food and drink processing...

Earth as seen from space

Kayser space cellular agriculture in space feasibility study

All about our exciting work with Kayser Space and Cellular Agriculture Ltd on a European Space Agency project to explore the cultivation of meat for space mi...

People engaging and meeting around a table

Research, partnerships and accessing funding

Craig Leadley, Technology Fellow covers UKRI funding channels, connecting businesses to funding bodies and resources, the exciting research for which we have...

Crop shot of earth from space

Cultivating meat for space missions

Technology Fellow, Craig Leadley takes us through his exciting work with Kayser Space and Cellular Agriculture Ltd on a European Space Agency project to expl...

Raspberries on pulsed electric field kit

Process validations for non-thermal and new technologies – have you validated the worst case?

We have explored factors outside those commonly considered in process validations, and found significant and substantial effects on the log reductions achiev...

Ice-cream cones on factory production line

5 ways to benefit from food processing improvement strategies

Food processing technologies improve the efficiency and safety of the processes used to transform raw materials into finished food and beverage products. By ...

Contact an expert