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Development of a refrigerated pelletizer for processing thermosensitive raw materials: an application for post-harvesting of hops

Grant number: 20/09725-1
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: September 01, 2021 - August 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agricultural Engineering - Process Engineering of Agricultural Products
Principal Investigator:Francisco Manuel Barrales
Grantee:Francisco Manuel Barrales
Host Company:Aureliano Agostinho Dias Meirelles
CNAE: Atividades de pós-colheita
Fabricação de máquinas e equipamentos para a agricultura e pecuária, exceto para irrigação
Fabricação de máquinas e equipamentos para as indústrias de alimentos, bebidas e fumo
City: Campinas
Associated researchers:Daniel Albiero ; Rafael Augustus de Oliveira
Associated scholarship(s):21/10116-2 - Development of a refrigerated pelletizer for processing thermosensitive raw materials: an application for post-harvesting of hops, BP.PIPE


Hops, a perennial plant with intensely aromatic and bitter-flavoured flowers, have beer production as their primary use. Beer consumption registered an average increase of 5% per year in the last decade, mainly driven by the craft beer segment, which had an average growth of 20% in the same period. Brazil is positioned as the third world producer of this drink, with the most significant number of new breweries being registered in the state of São Paulo, reaching an increase of 39% in the 2017-2019 three-year period. The input with the most significant impact on the cost of beer production is hops, mostly imported from the United States and Germany. In breweries, hops can be used in the form of fresh or dried flowers, pellets and even extracts. However, flowers pose major problems for the industry concerning the volume of stock, stability over time and technological difficulties in the process, such as clogging pipes and decreased yield during beer production. On the other hand, the high cost of hop extracts means that only the largest beer producers can purchase this input. For this reason, the most popular form of hops by breweries is pellet hops, which overcomes these difficulties, in addition to being part of the culture of brewers. From 2015 onwards, national hop production began to gain prominence, agronomic management techniques have evolved, making it possible to obtain hops of quality and in significant quantities in Brazilian territory. However, the specific post-harvest equipment of this product did not develop at the same pace, hindering the growth of the sector. Thus, hop producers are able to produce, harvest and dry the hops. However, there is still a need to evolve in the pelletizing stage, which is essential to accelerate the commercialization of this product. To avoid oxidation of valuable volatile organic compounds and resins, minimize contact with oxygen in the environment and avoid using temperatures above 35 °C In this context, IDEAgro created this project. This embryonic company will emerge from the idea of the MSc. Francisco Manuel Barrales, based on scientific needs and market opportunities, to strengthen the market for national hops producers, which are expanding in Brazil. This project aims to enhance the national hops, and transform it into a product that will enhance its consumption by Brazilian microbreweries. In this way, the general objective of this project is to develop a refrigeration and gas injection system applied to hop pelletizing, which meets the production scale demanded by Brazilian family farming. The activities of this project are divided into stages, which are: (1) raw material collection; (2) treatment of the raw material; (3) acquisition of materials for pelletizer; (4) pelletizing prototype assembly; (5) pelletizing, evaluating different length / diameter pelletization ratios and speed of rotation of the rollers; (6) characterization of pellets, in relation to pelletizing performance, ±-acids, ß-acids profile, hardness and durability of pellets; (7) data processing, will be carried out to identify the pelletizing conditions that resulted in the highest yields and with the greatest conservation of the chemical profile of desired compounds. It is hoped to be able to produce hops pellets with the physical and chemical quality demanded by the Brazilian beer market. (AU)

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