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New method to produce skim milk concentrate

Skim milk concentration is an energy-intensive process and is a prerequisite step during skim milk powder production. To achieve a high dry matter (DM) of 40%, a mild and thermal energy-saving, two-stage membrane cascade consisting of reverse osmosis (RO) and nanofiltration (NF) was developed as an addition to the conventional evaporation process. 

In the study published in the Journal of Food Engineering, German Researchers  investigated the effect of different processing parameters (temperature and transmembrane pressure) and membrane parameters (feed spacer thickness, feed spacer geometry, and membrane material) during the filtration stages. Recirculating the NF permeate back into the RO feed stream produced an NF retentate that had a composition similar to that of the skim milk concentrate obtained by the evaporation process. The membrane filtration cascade that was developed enabled the production of highly concentrated skim milk under mild processing conditions. 

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