In 2008, EnWave developed a new technology platform called powderREV for dehydrating a continuous stream of liquid into powder to enable longer shelf-life and more efficient delivery for consumer products containing live or active ingredients. powderREV technology is being designed as a high-speed alternative to large-tray freeze drying equipment which is slow and expensive. In addition, tray freeze dryers are used today for many powdered food products requiring high nutritional retention or superior flavour such as freeze-dried coffee.
According to EnWave, other powder drying methods such as spray drying are faster and less expensive than freeze drying, but unable to handle sensitive materials without reducing the efficacy of the active ingredients, or altering the flavour. EnWave’s goal is to introduce powderREV as a method for drying sensitive materials that is at least as effective as a freeze dryer, but with the speed of a spray dryer. We believe this will create a new market standard for processing sensitive high-value bulk powders.
The company recently tested soy milk and skim milk using the current powderREV prototype, and have now initiated an expanded testing program with a variety of other materials including food cultures, probiotics and fine biochemicals such as enzymes. These products are currently used as healthy additives to cereals, snack foods, yogurt and other dairy products, or as starter cultures to affect the growth of other organisms.
In 2009, EnWave plans to build a larger prototype with the goal of collaborating with an industry partner to complete the commercial evaluation and scale-up of this technology. The food culture industry is not subject to the extensive regulatory approvals which makes the ultimate commercialization process faster and less costly than is expected for regulated pharmaceuticals. The base technology might also be transitioned to other food and pharmaceutical industries where freeze-dried bulk powder is currently the norm.