Drying vegetable proteins with the Drymeister

Proteins are a key building block of living organisms and are indispensable for human and animal nutrition. High protein variants are merchandised with the benefits of muscle building, weight loss and keeping you feeling fuller for longer. Today's protein concentrate technology is focused on vegetable proteins as a more healthy, sustainable and responsible sourcing option than animal protein. The Drymeister (DMR-H) mill dryer has proved a highly successful method of drying vegetable proteins, achieving considerable savings in processing costs.

Vegetable proteins are used in many applications such as gluten-free foods, meat substitutes, vegetarian foods and sports and slimming products. A well-known source of vegetable proteins are legumes, such as alfalfa, clover, beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, soybeans, peanuts and tamarind.

However, exhibiting a cohesive tendency and poor flow characteristics, such proteins are notoriously difficult to handle in wet feed, slurry, filter cake or even dry product. They are also temperature sensitive and have a tendency to stick to the equipment during drying.

When these aspects are added to the demand for end products with a particular protein content, colour and taste, it is easy to understand how selecting the right drying system is critical.

Drying system for vegetable proteins

Take the humble peas, for example. One of the oldest known vegetables offers plant-based protein levels of 20-25% and good processing attributes. Grown across the world, the peas is increasingly identified as a super plant in terms of its ability to help meet the escalating demand for protein to feed the world’s population.

Give peas a chance

In the processing of pea proteins, the raw material initially has an average moisture content of 90%. The process typically begins with mechanical de-watering using a decanter: a high-speed rotating device which removes some of the water. This improves the energy-efficiency of the subsequent process because less water has to be evaporated.

After decanting, the material still contains about 70% moisture. It is discharged into a Nauta® mixer to be agitated/homogenized. Via a special feeder unit the material is then continuously fed into a Drymeister (DMR-H) mill dryer, which transforms the material into a fine powder with a moisture content of just 5% in a matter of seconds.

The Drymeister is capable of handling products with a moisture content ranging from a few percent to more than 80% in suspensions, slurries and pastes. The ability of the Drymeister to directly transform a slurry into a uniform dry powder in a single process step, not only quickly but also efficiently – using approximately 10-20% less energy per kilogram of evaporated water than conventional ring dryers – makes it an excellent choice in the drying of proteins from a wide variety of sources for human consumption.

Drying of vegetable proteins with the Drymeister (DMR-H)

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