Concentrating milk through single-step filtration: a unique sustainable milk processing solution for farmers worldwide

Containerized filtration unit to concentrate milk


Concentrating milk through single-step filtration: a unique sustainable milk processing solution for farmers worldwide



VIDA Challenges

Sustainable milk processing


More than ever the challenge for the dairy sector includes bringing milk to the consumer at a competitive price and in the most sustainable way. Farmers face a situation where cost reduction is necessary but actions are demanded as well in order to meet climate goals. Question is whether improvements in the current way milk is produced and processed are going to make the difference. Given the fact that emissions from transport, processing and distribution (carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide) to retail contribute up to 29.4%, a group of highly innovative companies wondered: what if this kind of transport can be reduced with 50%?

In 2016 Wafilin Systems B.V. started with the idea of developing a solution which could contribute to significant less transport and thus CO2.-emissions. After all, milk consists for 87% out of water and for products like cheese, yoghurts or powder, these amounts are not needed. In a consortium with 4 companies, a unique (patented) standalone membrane filtration system was developed. With this system, pure water can be extracted from raw milk without loss of milk quality and valuable substances. This results in a decrease of milk volume (50%), reuse of water, increase of dry matter (25%), reduction of cooling energy, less transport and shorter process time at the dairy factory. In the past years (2017 – 2018) this unit was developed and demonstrated in line with a standard automatic milking (AM) system at a real life farm and filtrated up to 120 liters of milk per hour. Test results were positive and the system is now at TRL 6.

The system will be redesigned and ready for use to an upscaled process (5.000 – 7.000 liters milk per hour) and real life demonstration on the Dairy Campus in Leeuwarden (TRL 8). With an average amount of 20.000 visitors per year, it is an ideal demonstration site. The test scope consists of different work packages with clear milestones and timescales:

  1. Redesign upscaled filtration system

The current filtration system will be upscaled to a filtration systems which can process 5-7m3 per hour. The redesign will focus on integration in a containerized unit, for plug and play to a carousel (worldwide applicable, no robot needed). It needs to be a final design and ready for production. Redesign is mostly necessary for meeting biocompatible standards and mass production.

  1. Set up containerized membrane filtration system

On the Dairy Campus (550 cows) the containerized unit will be set up, and plugged onto a GEA carousel (45 cows). The demonstration site has to be prepared for a unique experience for the visitors and other stakeholders. A first test – without visitors – will be executed.

  1. Demonstration, testing & validation

The main objective is to give various technology demonstrations in order to convince important stakeholders worldwide. Next to this, the goal is to gain insight in the functioning of the unit on large scale. Different demonstrations will provide valuable data on process control between the milk carrousel and the filtration unit, in order to determine product quality. Finally, different dairy products (yoghurt, cheese, powder) will be produced with the concentrated milk for demonstration of quality.


Wafilin Systems B.V.

Westra RVS


Hellebrekers B.V.

Social Media/Hashtags

#Milk, #Dairy, #Water, #CircularEconomy, #Farm