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Cost Analysis and Environmental Impact of Pulsed Electric Fields and High Pressure Processing in Comparison with Thermal Pasteurization

F. Sampedro, A. McAloon, W. Yee, X. Fan, D. J. Geveke
Food and bioprocess technology 2014 v.7 no.7 pp. 1928-1937
business enterprises, carbon dioxide, electricity, environmental impact, high pressure treatment, labor, nonthermal processing, orange juice, pasteurization, production costs, pulsed electric fields, refrigeration, shelf life, United States
The cost of high pressure processing (HPP) and the environmental impact of pulsed electric fields (PEF), HPP and thermal pasteurization of orange juice were estimated in the US. The cost analysis was based on commercial processing conditions that were validated for a 2-month shelf-life of orange juice under refrigeration conditions. Total electricity consumption was estimated to be 38,100 and 1,000,000 k Wh/year for thermal and HPP processing, respectively. Total pasteurization cost of HPP was estimated to be 10.7 ¢/l for processing 16,500,000 l/year (3,000 l/h). Of this, capital costs accounted for 59% (6.3 ¢/l), labor costs accounted for 37% (4.0 ¢/l) and utility charges, mainly electricity, accounted for 4% (0.4 ¢/l). The total HPP cost was 7-folds higher than that of conventional thermal processing (1.5 ¢/l). The equivalent CO₂ emission was 90,000 kg for thermal processing and 700,000 and 773,000 kg for PEF and HPP, respectively. This corresponds to an increase between 7- and 8-folds in comparison to the thermal processing. Increasing the production output by 2- to 6-folds reduced the total production costs of nonthermal processing by 50–75 %. A deeper knowledge of the processing costs and environmental impact of nonthermal technologies will afford companies a better understanding of the benefits and limitations of these novel systems.