In line with global moves to ‘cleaner and greener’ means of producing products and services, many beverage companies are looking to manufacturers and distributors of Cleaning in Place (CIP) process systems to provide a cleaning alternative that has a smaller environmental footprint. South African-based Radical Waters has spent the past 15 years focusing on developing and commercialising its patented Electrochemically Activated Water (ECA) technology to fill these needs. The company has installed ECA devices for blue chip companies in 23 countries on six continents around the world.
Globally, the beverage industry is an enormous consumer of one of the earth’s most treasured and scarce resources: water. Water usage with traditional CIP systems is very high because the cleaning chemicals need to be flushed from the system before production can resume. One of the main advantages of using ECA technology is a water saving of up to 83 per cent. An energy saving of up to 98 per cent is also achievable, which is of huge consequence in countries such as South Africa where energy consumption is monitored.
Even a properly designed chemical CIP system has a significant environmental impact, because of the chemicals used and the energy and water consumed. Chemicals and organic contaminants end up in wastewater, often with adverse environmental effects. In addition, the large amounts of energy needed to heat the water used in these CIP processes translate into increased CO2 emissions.
What exactly does a CIP system do?
A typical five-step CIP involves:
Unfortunately, a number of chemicals are used in stages two and four of the process all of which are harmful to the environment.
The primary advantages of using ‘green’ CIP technologies lie in the water, energy and chemical savings – all of which reduce the respective cost-to-company and are better for the environment. There is also the added benefit of reduced CIP times which means less downtime for the beverage plant as a whole. However, as with many new technologies, there are some downsides. Eco-friendly CIP solutions often cost more initially to install than traditional systems due to the high cost of new research, technology and equipment needed to produce them.
Radical Waters has a solution that is an environmentally friendly and healthy substitute for cleaning chemicals. Its process decreases the time spent on cleaning by up to 70 per cent; total cost savings per CIP can be as much as 95 per cent; cost savings on CIP chemicals can be close to 99 per cent; while other benefits are:
Radical Waters’ products are used in a wide range of markets formerly dependent on chemicals for controlling contamination and bacterial infection. The company focuses on markets that include beverage production, meat and seafood, sauce manufacture, milling and starch and hospitality.