Developing more efficient milk bulk tank wash down procedure using Ozonated water technology

Project Details


The milk cooling and cleaning of the machinery uses both large quantities of fuel and electricity on the dairy farms and processing plants. The energy cost in dairy farms mount to a 3rd of total cost in UK dairy sector. The aim of this project is to assess the feasibility of ozonated room temperature water replacing hot water washes (with sodium hydroxide) to clean milk storage and pipes at dairy farms and processing plants. To this aim we will be using the Aqua 21 Ozone generator and sensing technology on 2 different fat % of milk stored in demo stainless steel vats. Milk bulk tank cleaning products are mostly alkali-based chemicals which are passed through the milk chilling and storage systems regularly. Using a simple experimental design, we will evaluate if the Ozonated water is capable of cleaning the milk vats in a comparable manner to the traditional methods. The lack of need for heating (energy savings) and no use of chemical cleaners are the main novelties here. If successful, i.e. equal or better cleaning metrics with the Ozone technologies, this result will form the basis of submission of an Innovate CR&D application in 2024.

This project could lead to new products and processes from the adapted application of Aqua21’s ozone generator to commercial dairy cleansing and processing. Ozone is powerful, well-researched and proven capable of replacing traditional chemicals used in disinfection across many sectors. It is already utilised in the food and drink industry but the size of generation units, their cost and high energy demands have limited their operations to large players. Aqua21’s technology’s USP is its scalability, adaptability, robustness and high energy efficiency, delivering very low capital and operating costs to businesses – a game changer for the dairy supply chain and SMEs.
Commercial applications would likely include disinfection of:
•Bulk milk tanks on farm
•Tankers and transport logistics equipment
•Dairy Processor equipment
In each of the above, supply chain partners would realise reduced costs, emissions and operational risks, alongside increased efficiencies, demonstrable greener operations and improved H&S performance.

Innovation: Introduction of ozone disinfection and the innovative use of Aqua21’s technology, if this project demonstrates we can effectively replace traditional chemical treatment, would significantly reduce:
•chemical dependency (many of which are becoming restricted)
•costs of chemicals, storage needs, and H&S impacts for staff
•emissions and environmental impacts of chemical manufacture and of transport
•impacts of downstream effluent
•water and heat demands, due to alternative treatment protocols (and associated costs/carbon)
•residual pathogen load on equipment through improved cleaning performance
Success could also introduce real-time ozone sensing, proving, recording, and potentially increasing, pathogen eradication and reduction in spoilage in situ, dramatically increasing H&S outputs, and operations. Aqua21 would benefit from evidence of dairy supply chain gains, particularly SMEs, opening markets in SW Scotland/UK/beyond and new partnerships for further R&D.
SRUC is operating at the interface of the dairy sector stakeholders and translational value of this project into practices towards net zero targets.

The company expects sound, early evidence of the technology’s disinfectant performance against a range of parameters to determine successful application scenarios that would meet with the dairy sector’s commercial operations and needs, expectations and constraints. The process and the outputs could form the foundation of a more detailed and expansive work/testing programme, extending to introducing the technology to commercial sites and partners and potentially applying the technology to a wider range of on farm disinfection needs. Indirect outcomes would focus of building a strong, collaborative relationship that could lead to a longer-term working relationship. The engagement with SRUC, specifically with the MakerSpace work package of the digital dairy chain project, will enable this technology to move up the TRL ladder (technology readiness level). This collaboration has the potential for integration with ongoing research at SRUC as part of a roadmap for going forward.

Task1 – Setup and installation of the Ozone generator and sensors (water source and electricity) carried out by SRUC’s lab technician, supported by Aqua21 expertise.
-A1.1 Processing the rental cost and contracts between Agri-Epi and SRUC
-A1.2 procurement of the consumables as explained in Figure1.
Task2 – Running the experiments with the milk vats and the explain protocols in Figure1
-A2.1 Sampling of the vats using 15ml tubes and ATP swabs before and after
-A2.2 Storage of the samples at 4oC fridge until analysis
-A2.3 Liaison with laboratory staff for processing the samples.
Task3 – Collecting the data and analysis of the results carried out by SRUC in collaboration with Aqua21
-A3.1 Collating a final report for the funder and partner(s)
-A3.2 Planning the next stage of the project based on the outcomes.

Short titleColdZone
Effective start/end date1/02/241/08/24


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