Milk thickening on the farm is being scaled up

Gepubliceerd op
12 mei 2021

On Wednesday 12 May, Alderman Friso Douwstra set up a demonstration installation for thickening milk at the Dairy Campus Innovation Center in Leeuwarden. An installation that was the result of a successfully completed pilot, which was carried out by Wafilin Systems four years ago. The technology has since been scaled up and linked to the rotary milking parlor. With the go-ahead given today, the company from Leeuwarden is given the opportunity to demonstrate that the technology can be applied on a large and international scale. With this innovative technology on the farm, the desired milk quality is maintained.

Concentrating milk on the farm

Concentrating raw milk on the farm can have benefits for both the dairy farmer and the dairy. Milk consists of 87% water. This concentration of water is necessary for milk consumption, but not if other dairy products such as cheese, yogurt or milk powder are made from it. At present, the milk thickening process takes place in the factory. But prior to that, the milk, certainly internationally, has often already traveled great distances before it reaches the factory. A unique membrane system from Wafilin Systems makes it possible to concentrate the milk directly from the milking installation on the farm.

The operation of the demonstration system

The demonstration system is placed in a container and can concentrate more than 3000 liters of raw milk per hour. The milk is processed directly from the rotary milking parlor in the system whereby membranes separate pure water from the milk. The total milk volume is reduced to 50% and then stored in the cooling tanks. The uniqueness of this application lies in the process in which pre-treatment of the raw milk such as skimming or pasteurization is not necessary. It is also in line with the rotary milking parlor with which more than 450 cows are milked.

Valuable innovation for farmer, dairy manufacturer and the environment

There are multiple benefits of concentrating milk directly on the farm. By reducing the milk volume by 50% already at the farm level, less milk needs to be stored and cooled, resulting in energy savings. Moreover, the quality of the filtered water is of such a quality that it can be reused for cleaning the system. The consortium of the parties involved plans to further demonstrate the possibilities of milk processing and water reuse with various chain parties. There is great interest from the dairy industry and a number of parties have indicated that they want to purchase the concentrated milk for product development. With this, the parties want to demonstrate that thickening milk on the farm contributes to a more sustainable dairy chain in the Netherlands and across the border.

Water and dairy technology collaboration

Wafilin Systems developed this technology in close collaboration with Westra RVS, Hellebrekers and IdeeTechniek and received support from (local) partners. This project was awarded by VIDA and received funding from the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program of the European Union under No. 777795.

In the picture

Alderman Friso Douwstra opens the valve with which the raw milk is pumped from the cow to the installation and the milk is thickened. With this act, the demonstration installation for thickening milk on the farm is officially opened. R&D Manager Jos van Dalfsen of Wafilin Systems keeps an eye on things. Photo: Robbert Evers.