Kentucky Patent of the Month – January 2021

Spray drying is a process that has been around for over 200 years. Simply put, spray drying is taking a slurry or a liquid and drying it with hot gas in a chamber to produce a dry powder. The drying process includes the atomization of a liquid (turning it into droplets) and drying it very fast in order to produce a solid (powder). Many materials to be dried are carried in a solution or carrier material, such as water, alcohol, wax, gum, etc. However, some materials can’t be dried using this technique, as they are not able to tolerate the high drying temperatures (350-390°F). While it is possible to spray dry using lower temperatures if you use a starch-based slurry, many materials are not responsive to it. Seeing the need for improvements to the spray drying process, ZoomEssence, Inc. developed a new method for spray drying. 

Their method involves low temperatures and carrier-free compositions. The carrier-free material is dried with air, nitrogen, oxygen and helium gas, among others, in a drying chamber at temperatures up to 210°F. Because there is no slurry or carrier, the atomization of the material doesn’t include any excess carrier, thus resulting in a higher quality product with enhanced flavour, taste, smell, stability, processability, etc. Spray drying is used by many industries, including pharmaceuticals and food processing. But having an alternative process for materials that are not thermally stable means that this technique can now be used in many more applications.

Are you developing a new process? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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