Dr. William Emkey, PhD, Principal Designer
The food industry today is one of the most rapidly evolving spaces given the ever-growing global market and significant innovations in the area. Not remarkably, this industry is also known for its virtuous measures in the direction of practicing chemical-free processes. However, one area remains as an exception to non-chemical practices and unfortunately goes virtually unnoticed. Chemicals are traditionally used in controlling detrimental foam growth during food processing. The usage and control of foam-reducing chemicals calls into question the impact on food safety. Moreover, the use of chemically-based foam control systems have always been plagued by various operational challenges, such as supply chain management issues, storage and handling costs, anti-foam distribution systems, and increasing chemical costs.
Over the years, many systems, such as laser-based technologies, ultrasonic bubble disruption, centrifugal gas separation, and others, have been tried with limited success, falling short of the threshold for ubiquitous commercial applications.
This is where ChemFree comes into the play. After an expansive evaluation of proposed non-chemical foam control technologies, the company arrived at a technological breakthrough - the ChemFree Water Diffusion Technology (WDT™) system - a patented technology that effectively reduces foam while lowering the operating and maintenance costs associated with traditional chemical foam control.
In order to understand the foam dynamics, the team at ChemFree found that foam generation needed to be considered as a total system, and not merely as a series of discrete foam “hot spots.”
The ChemFree WDT™ system delivers what the process industry has been searching for: A truly sustainable, cost-effective solution for foam control.
A truly sustainable solution would need to address how and where the foam is being generated, along with the foam flow, the type of foam, the foam growth characteristics and the relationship of the foam to the plant’s infrastructure. ChemFree recognized this need and created a comprehensive methodology to analyze the foam growth dynamics.
This analysis led to the development of the ChemFree WDT™ system, a chemical-free sustainable, cost-effective foam control solution for the food processing industry. This system utilizes a simple water-based process that lowers overall operating costs while driving down the use of chemicals. The reduction of chemicals dramatically lowers traditional operating costs while assuring that chemical residues on the final product are significantly reduced and, in some cases, eliminated.
To compliment the WDT™ system, ChemFree has recently strengthened their technology portfolio by developing their Intelligent Foam Control (IFC™) system (currently in field testing). Virtually all food processing facilities, and other industries requiring foam control, add anti-foam chemicals via a continuous flow even when foam levels do not require it. This invariably causes an excessive use of chemicals, thus increasing chemical residues and higher costs. The IFC™ system solves this problem by continuously monitoring both the foam and the water conditions and, based on these conditions, triggers the WDT™ system and/or the anti-foam chemical dosing. The result is an “only when needed” fully automated technology that ensures a minimum usage of water and of anti-foam chemicals. “At the end of the day, we have developed a system that fits the foam control needs of all the food processors and beyond. The ChemFree systems deliver what process industries have been searching for: a sustainable and cost-effective solution for foam control," concludes Dr. William Emkey, inventor and Founder of ChemFree.