Comprehensive solution for brine treatment

In order to best serve the dairy industry, Wafilin Systems often collaborates with strategic partners. Together, we can market unique innovations that will help us reach and support more customers. This month we’re talking to Hein Weijdema, CEO of CEVAP, about our revolutionary innovation. By joining forces, we’ll be able to achieve cost reductions for cheese producers. We’re also working together to achieve a socially responsible impact, which will benefit the environment.

Could you tell us a bit more about yourself? Who are you, and what’s your position within CEVAP?
My name is Hein Weijdema, and I am the CEO and founder of CEVAP. Originally an aircraft engineer, I ended up in water technology – via wind energy – in 2010. That’s where I gained my first experience in water treatment, at a company operating in the water industry. This company shouldn’t have existed, really, as this technology wasn’t quite in line with the market. This experience inspired me to start my own company, with the intention of further developing water evaporation technology. That company became CEVAP.

What kind of a company is CEVAP? What’s your expertise?
CEVAP is a Dutch start-up that designs innovative evaporators. We are located in Eindhoven. Conventional evaporators are made of steel and used to evaporate water in processing streams. The reason they’re made of steel is that evaporation systems are frequently exposed to high pressure, and steel is a good heat conductor. The problem is that these evaporators are very sensitive to corrosion and therefore can’t be used to treat brine, for example. Besides, it isn’t economically feasible to treat lower volumes of wastewater because of the high processing costs of conventional evaporators.

That’s why we’ve developed innovative evaporators made of plastic, which are not susceptible to corrosion. They’re also easy and cheap to maintain with easily exchangeable cartridges. Another advantage is that these evaporators are powered by residual heat from the factory. This leads to a reduction in energy costs.

How did you partner up with Wafilin?
Before starting up CEVAP, I came into contact with an investment company that introduced me to Harry van Dalfsen and Henk Schonewille. After we met, we both came to the conclusion that we would be excellent partners for process optimization – such as the brine filtration process – in the dairy industry.

Why did Wafilin and CEVAP start this partnership? What kind of innovation can we deliver together, and why do we need each other?
Cheeses are brined in cheese factories, which involves placing them in saltwater to extract moisture. This moisture, however, ends up in the brine, which reduces the brine’s salt percentage. Currently, many factories see this diluted brine as a waste stream and dispose of it as wastewater. To counteract this dilution of the brine, salt must be continuously added to the brine baths. The cheeses also release a lot of proteins and other substances, which pollute the brine.

For some time now, Wafilin has been working on filtering these substances from the water using membranes, which has proven very successful so far. However, membrane filtration cannot be used to prevent salt dilution, but CEVAP’s evaporators can. This led to the idea to join forces and develop a process for the full treatment of brine, which involves both filtering valuable substances out of the brine and evaporating water to maintain the salt concentration. By working together on this, we can ensure the extended usability of these salt baths and prevent the disposal of diluted brine water.

How does this innovation benefit CEVAP’s and Wafilin’s customers?
Wafilin filters the microbiological substances out of the brine, and at CEVAP, we use our plastic evaporators to evaporate the water released into the bath from the cheese. This innovative combined solution helps ensure the prevention of water disposal, which has significant financial as well as environmental benefits. Implementing this system in a cheese factory would reduce the number of trips by truck and eliminate the need for saltwater disposal, which still frequently takes place.

What is our shared ambition?
Together, we want to use this combined solution to help the cheese industry improve their processing streams and reduce the costs of water disposal. Besides, we both really value the fact that this helps reduce environmental impact, as we want to ensure the preservation of our planet for future generations.

And finally: can you give a sneak peek of the things we can expect from this collaboration?
First, we want to focus on a demonstration project in the cheese industry, as soon as we’re allowed to again. Currently, we’re following the regulations regarding COVID-19, of course. As soon as the restrictions are lifted, we’ll start exploring how we can bring this shared expertise to different industries. Our goal is to use this innovative combination of two unique technologies to help a growing number of customers optimize their processes.

Interested in learning more about this exciting innovation? Feel free to contact Henk Schonewille, CEO of Wafilin Systems: 

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