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Natural Resources and Natural Resource Technology

For thousands of years humans have relied on the positive health effects of plant ingredients. With its Natural Products and Natural Product Technology section, the PTC enables development and piloting of industrial manufacturing processes for herbal products for consumer healthcare.

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The focus is on technologies – both conventional and highly specialized – for extracting natural substances from plant components. For example, substances can be extracted with supercritical CO2 or using membrane contactors – with batch sizes of up to 200 litres.

Coarse and fine grinders can be used to break down large-leaf source material. The extracts obtained can then be processed and configured using established methods such as spray and conical drying, followed by vacuum packaging, lyophilization, filling of bottles, cans or drums, and ointment manufacturing including tube filling.

In addition, the PTC has a 100-litre microbrewery with automatic mashing and two 100-liter fermentation and storage tanks. A nanofiltration system can separate the yeast or dealcoholize the brewed beer. Thanks to a semi-automatic bottling machine, the beer can be put into sophisticated end containers.

Comprehensive analysis methods, with the emphasis on inline measurement technology, underly all the work and enable comprehensive process control and documentation.

In order to meet increasing hygiene demands, the natural substances area is access-controlled and may only be entered with appropriate clothing. The cleaning of plant components and measuring devices is done by means of a mobile cleaning-in-place (CIP) system. Cleaning protocols and processes can be developed and carried out using a 1000 litre test facility ("EHEDG-Rig" in cooperation with Endress+Hauser).

The Natural Products Division of the PTC is available to research & development partners from industry and universities and is used extensively in the education of HLS students.

Infrastructure

  • Solid-liquid extractor (Samtech DIG-MAZ, 20 l, incl. thin film evaporation and chamber filter press)
  • Spray drying (Büchi)
  • Conical dryer/homogenizer (IKA Magic-Plant)
  • Micro brewing plant (1 hl) incl. automatic mashing and 2 cooled fermentation tanks (Gruber)
  • Membrane degassing plant (200 l/h degassed water - < 10 ppb residual oxygen)
  • Nanofiltration plant for dealcoholization of beer (1 hl/h)
  • Microfiltration plant with automatic backwash system (up to 500 l/h)
  • Mobile cleaning-in-place (CIP) system with preparation tank (100 l) and dosing station for acid/alkali/detergent and CIP return pump
  • EHEDG-Testrig for cleaning of plant components as well as cleaning development and validation
  • Membrane extraction plants for membrane-supported gas supply and degassing, emulsion-free liquid-liquid extraction and membrane distillation (up to 20 l/h continuous)
  • Hygiene zone (non-Ex area)

FHNW School of Life Sciences

FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland School of Life Sciences Hofackerstrasse 30 CH - 4132 Muttenz
More information about the location
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