‘Global solution’ for acid whey, E-Sep Technologies CEO says

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

The ESEP 1000 System is able to neutralize acid whey and separate out pure lactose as the final product.
The ESEP 1000 System is able to neutralize acid whey and separate out pure lactose as the final product.

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E-Sep Technologies has developed an efficient industrial solution and chemical-free process to separate out ingredients from whey streams, the company said. 

Currently, dairy separation technology is very limited, according to founder and CEO of E-Sep Technologies Trish Choudhary.

“There are traditional ion exchange technologies which use a lot of chemicals to drive the separation,”​ Choudhary told DairyReporter. “Or there’s the very new stuff like electrodialysis, which hasn’t done very well in the dairy industry because it’s not scalable, very complicated, and very expensive.”

E-Sep Technologies was committed to developing a process free from chemicals that not only had the ease of filtration, but also had the specificity of traditional ion exchange and electrodialysis. After three years, Choudhary and her team of engineers created the proprietary ESEP 1000 System that runs solely on water and electricity and does not use or release chemicals into the environment.

The final prototype design has almost been finalized, according to Choudhary.

“I think the technology is disruptive enough and the amount of feedback we’ve had has been tremendous,” ​she said.

‘Protein and lactose is absolutely everywhere’

The E-Sep Technologies system was specifically developed to separate the individual components present in whey regardless of origin, pH, concentration, or viscosity.

“The proteins are very sensitive and when you hit them with high heat  and chemicals, they start to degrade and you end up with a very low quality protein product,”​ Choudhary said.

Choudhary says that E-Sep Technologies has “found the gap” by providing a system that can help clean up the whey by separating out the lactic acids.

Opportunity for Greek yogurt manufacturers

According to Choudhary, E-Sep Technologies is working with Greek yogurt companies to help them make use of their leftover acid whey stream.

“Our system can actually take Greek yogurt acid whey, neutreulize it, and allow lactose to be recovered”​ Choudhary said.

The ability to neutralize acid whey can present a huge market opportunity for the Greek yogurt industry, which currently does not have a solution other than dumping it into fields or feeding it to livestock, she added.

‘A global solution’

Once E-Sep Technolgies “locks down” the final design and completes all of its safety design checks, Choudhary said that the next steps for the company would be looking for a strategic industrial partner who can help scale up the technology.

“This is a global solution, we’re not limiting ourselves to the US,”​ Choudary said. 

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