Separation Techniques Limited

For all your molecular level purification needs

Whey Processing

With perhaps the lowest chemical and energy consumption on the plant, SepTech’s whey demineralisation systems  are highly efficient and simple in operation. Sharp fronts eluting out of the column suggest low mixing volumes during loading and sweetening off leading to reduced product dilution and a higher regeneration efficiency. Using only nanofiltration and a single pass ion exchange resin system, we can achieve a demin-90 product with the following chemical consumption figures.

  • 139 kg of 36% HCl per tonne of dry matter processed.

(viz. = 8.304 kg of 36% HCl/ m3 of rennet whey at 6% solids)

  • 87 kg of 48% NaOH per tonne of dry matter processed.

(viz. = 5.22 kg of 36% HCl/ m3 of rennet whey at 6% solids)

  • 12 tonnes of water per tonne of dry matter processed including chemical make-up and resin backwash requirements.

(viz. = 720 kg of water/ m3 of rennet whey at 6% solids)

  • Net resin volume required to process 1,500 million litres per day, 24 hour operation, is only 26 m3.

The above figures assumes that one tonne of dry matter equates to 16.7 m3 of rennet whey at 6% solids. Our plants are highly efficient with the lowest known chemical usage for a given throughput of rennet whey. The whey is subject to NF to raise the solids to ~20% followed by a SINGLE ion exchange step, i.e., there are no mixed bed operations. Thus we have the following advantages.

  • There are no mixed bed operations
  • No complicated engineering
  • The plants are simple with complete demineralisation achieved by NF & ion exchange in a single pass.
  • No requirement for cooling water on the plant
  • Reduced effluent and thus reduced effluent treatment costs.
  • Reduced loss of whey proteins in the effluent resulting in lowering of the BOD of the effluent generated.
  • Reduction in plant running, operation and maintenance costs per unit of whey processed.

Having honed our technical abilities Separation Techniques Limited focused its attention to improving existing processes and one of the areas selected was whey processing. We now hold 2 patents in this sector.

In 1997, a large whey processing company in Europe who wished to modify their existing whey demineralisation plant approached Separation Techniques Limited. Following laboratory and pilot trials, the existing resins were replaced by more advanced resins and the entire process was revamped with the introduction of advanced engineering principles for the operation of the plant. On completion of the project, the full-scale production plant, modified by Separation Techniques Limited, was capable of processing 1.5 million litres of whey per day at 6% solids.


Separation Techniques Limited, Mill Race, Compton Abdale, Cheltenham, Glos., GL54 4DR, United Kingdom

Tel.: +44 (1242) 890 178; Fax: +44 (1242) 890 179