Enhanced competitiveness for small and medium size enterprises in the business of natural products

The Interreg Nord project MoreNPBiz – More Natural Product Business by Enhanced Quality and Energy Efficiency of Drying was finished with successful and concrete results.
Natural products

Centria University of Applied Sciences, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Luleå University of Technology, and Hushållningsällskapet Norrbotten-Västerbotten has worked together to enhance the competitiveness of natural product enterprises.

The main achievements of the project were the instructions how to improve energy efficiency of existing convective dryers, how drying temperatures affect energy consumption and quality as well as the waste energy map showing potential waste energy sources for drying. The design and construction of the mobile dryer and the demo dryer will help in testing and optimization of drying processes.

Testing in laboratory

Small and medium size enterprises in the business of natural products have limited resources to study on their own how to improve quality and profitability. The knowledge and the network provided by the project are important for the development and growth of companies. Energy costs are typically high in drying and the quality of dried products can also vary if processes are not optimized. There is still a lot of work in the field of drying: different compounds favor different drying temperatures. Thus, the drying conditions should be evaluated for each species depending on its compounds and applications (supplements, cosmetics, food, pigments). Investment costs for dryers are high and enterprises need drying clusters or mobile/rentable drying units, which they could use. Enterprises also need more networks, where to find buyers for products and more product concepts alongside dried plant powders.

The added value of the cross-border cooperation was the possibility to combine knowledge on dryers, drying technologies, modelling of drying processes and quality of plants. Due to this, the project was able to distribute our knowledge and the obtained results more widely to the enterprises in the region. Now there is a better potential for building up the Nordic drying cluster and nature-based entrepreneurship cross-border activities to meet the global demand for premium quality natural products.

Testing in laboratory

The results of the project MoreNPBiz can be found on the project website https://tki.centria.fi/hanke/morenpbiz/1936.

The project leader Leena Favén from Centria University of Applied Sciences recommends interested enterprises to take contact for more information. “By email, phone or meeting each another we can provide specific and detailed information needed by your enterprise”, says Leena.