Combining Experimental and Modelling Approaches for Spray Drying of High-Quality Powdered Food Ingredients


Processing of concentrated liquid formulations into dry powder is a common operation in food industry. You may think about spray drying of a concentrated dairy formulation into a powdered infant formula. While such an operation is common, it is often based on empirical knowledge and optimized via trial and error. In this presentation, I will share our experimental & modelling approaches to study and unravel underlying dynamic phenomena that are critical to spray drying. We ultimately aim to develop mechanism-based guidelines for spray dryer optimization that can result in breakthroughs in terms of product quality and/or energy efficiency. For this, we develop small-scale drying set-ups using sessile single droplets or thin films to study amongst others the process of particle morphology evolution during spray drying. Along with this, we model the drying and rheological phenomena responsible for particle structure formation. Finally, we validated our insights at the pilot-scale. We could relate drying conditions to particle structure formation with advanced morphology analysis.

Short Biography

Dr. ir. M.A.I. Schutyser is Associate Professor (UHD) at the Laboratory of Food Process Engineering of Wageningen University & Research. His research focuses on understanding behavior of concentrated and dry materials during (spray) drying, dry fractionation and 3D food printing. This helps to explore new operating windows for existing dry food processes and develop radical new dry processing routes. The aim is to deliver better quality & healthier foods with more environmentally friendly processes compared to traditional processing. Dewatering and drying technologies represent in some cases up to 50% of the total energy consumption of foods but are indispensable for food preservation and global distribution of food ingredients. Dry and hybrid fractionation technologies can save up to seven times energy compared to traditional wet protein extraction and at the same time provide highly functional and clean label ingredients. The emerging technology of 3D food printing offers the potential to create novel food textures and healthier foods. It is also well suited for personalized and on-demand food production leading to less food waste generation in the chain.

Maarten Schutyser (co-)authored over 100 scientific peer-reviewed papers. He obtained his Msc and PhD degrees, respectively in 1999 and 2003 (both cum laude) at Wageningen University & Research. After his PhD he was employed by Akzo Nobel Chemicals and NIZO food research, respectively as a research technologist and group leader predictive modelling of foods. Since 2008 he is leading the Dry Food Processing group at the laboratory of Food Processing Engineering. He is also chairman of the Netherlands Working Party on Drying, an independent society that connects drying experts via networking events (www.nwgd.nl).

Associate Prof. dr. Maarten Schutyser
AFSG: Wageningen University & Research
Laboratory of Food Process Engineering
Wageningen, The Netherlands

Towards the Development of Digital Twins for the Bio-Manufacturing Industry


The biomanufacturing industry has the opportunity to be engaged in the latest industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0. To successfully accomplish this, a physical-to-digital-to-physical information loop should be carefully developed. One way to achieve this is, for example, through the implementation of digital twins (DTs), which are virtual copies of a process that interact with the real process. Therefore, the focus here is on understanding the needs and challenges faced by the biomanufacturing industry when dealing with this digitalized paradigm. To do so, two major building blocks of a DT, data and models, are highlighted. Hence, firstly, data and their characteristics and collection strategies are examined as well as new methods and tools for data processing. Secondly, modelling approaches and their potential of being used in DTs are presented. Finally, the talk provides a vision on the future use of DTs in the biomanufacturing industry, aiming at bringing the DT a step closer to its full potential.

Short Biography

MSc (1993) and PhD (1997) from Ghent University (Belgium). Postdoc positions (1998-2005) at Ghent University, École Polytechnique de Montréal, the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and Lund University. First associate professor at DTU Chemical Engineering (2005-2012), then Professor in Industrial Fermentation Technology ("The Novozymes professor") since 2013. Head of the Process and Systems Engineering Center (PROSYS) since 2014. CEO of Bioscavenge ApS, a startup with focus on resource recovery from bio-based production systems, since 2017. Chairman of the board of Biomanufacturing Project House since 2020.

Current research with focus on large-scale fermentation, mathematical modelling, investigation of mass transfer issues across scales, Process Analytical Technology (PAT), continuous production, resource recovery, process simulation with applications to fermentation, pharma, wastewater treatment and resource recovery operations.

Krist Gernaey
DTU Chemical Engineering/Bioscavenge ApS
Zealand, Denmark