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FORINFRA-Nasj.sats. forskn.infrastrukt

FoodPilotPlant Norway: Upgrading of the Pilot Plant Facilities for Food Processing at Campus Ås (phase II)

Alternative title: FoodPilotPlant Norway: Oppgradering av pilotanleggene for matprosessering (Matpiloten) ved Campus Ås (phase II)

Awarded: NOK 48.0 mill.

FoodPilotPlant Norway (Matpiloten) is a research infrastructure for food processing located at NMBU and Nofima on Campus Ås. The infrastructure has been built up through both funding from the participating institutions' and allocation of infrastructure funding from the Research Council of Norway. FoodPilotPlant Norway has had two infrastructure grants from the Research Council of Norway, Phase I from 2011 to 2015 was granted NOK 29 million and Phase II (current project) started in 2020 was granted NOK 49 million. The project is now in the final phase and the last processing pieces of equipment are now being installed. The project will be finalised in the first half of 2024. The infrastructure is in operation based on Phase I and II. The infrastructure grants from the Research Council of Norway allow us to develop a state-of-the-art pilot plant at Campus Ås, making us an outstanding arena for research on food production and food processing. The infrastructure has enabled Campus Ås to expand its research opportunities, both in terms of food processing, development of new food products and food safety research. FoodPilotPlant Norway has thus made it possible for us to apply for and be awarded funding for new and innovative research projects. FoodPilotPlant Norway has infrastructure and equipment organised for research, innovation and teaching in the processing of all food raw materials, as well as residual raw materials from this processing. The infrastructure includes equipment for small-scale production of foodstuffs such as breakfast cereals, beer, cheese and sausages, tanks for fermentation, packaging and for investigating the growth of pathogenic microorganisms in processed food. Increased research focus on sustainability means that we have an increased focus on implementing infrastructure to be able to utilise the entire raw material and use green technology when producing food. The infrastructure also includes access to laboratories with a wide range of analysis equipment. FoodPilotPlant Norway has a wide range of applications. The infrastructure is used in international and national research projects, teaching and testing processes and the production of test products for the food industry. FoodPilotPlant Norway is used by students in Food Science both in regular teaching in the form of exercises, but also in master and PhD work. In 2023, researchers from universities, research institutes and industry as well as bachelor, master and PhD students have used the infrastructure in FoodPilotPlant Norway as their research base. The infrastructure is used for external courses under the auspices of, for example, the Ecology Programme under the Norwegian Directorate of Agriculture and the Competence Network for Small-Scale Food Production. In 2023, eight scientific papers based on activities in FoodPilotPlant Norway were published in international scientific journals. FoodPilotPlant Norway also has regular coverage in the media and popular science journals. Currently, there are > 100 research projects at Campus Ås that utilise FoodPilotPlant Norway's research. These projects are working on, for example: - Developing meat substitutes made from beans that can be used in e.g. burgers. - Norwegian tapas cheese made from goat's milk, and the importance of somatic cells in the milk for cheese quality. - The quality of food products when new feed resources such as yeast grown from tree sap, insects, seaweed and kelp are utilised. - How molecules move in food to measure which types of fat, which types of protein and how much of each type of fat and protein is present in a food product, thereby improving the utilisation of the raw materials. - How chicken trimmings can be used to produce bacteria or yeast, which can then be used for oil or new food ingredients, for example. - Developing more environmentally friendly packaging that also extends the shelf life of food products. - Develop new ways of protecting food against the growth of unwanted bacteria, thereby increasing the shelf life and improving the flavour of food. Operations in 2020, 21 and 22 have been strongly influenced by COVID 19, where NMBU in particular, but also Nofima to some extent, has been shut down for parts of the years. Use and utilisation of the infrastructure has therefore been much lower than expected in these years.

In this infrastructure proposal, we apply for a further upgrading of the existing national infrastructure, FoodPilotPlant Norway at Campus Ås, which was established on the Norwegian Roadmap for research infrastructure (NFR) through the funding (NFR: 208674/F50) from 2011 - 2014 (Phase I). Through the operation of the Phase I national infrastructure , new demands have been identified. In addition, due to limited funding in Phase I, equipment had to be prioritized. Old equipment (pre Phase I) now strongly needs upgrading and renewal, without funding some of the infrastructure facilities might stop. Through a Phase II upgrading, both national and international food science research communities will have access to a relevant, up-to-date food-processing infrastructure that supports high-quality research and innovation. State-of-the-art pilot plant facilities makes Campus Ås an outstanding arena for food production, education, research, development and industrial contract work. The infrastructure has enabled Campus Ås to expand the research possibilities, both with respect to food processing, new food product development and food safety research. FoodPilotPlant Norway has thus enabled us to apply for, and to be allocated funding for new and innovative research projects, which broaden the Norwegian research fundament. Today the food industry encapsulates a broader concept than earlier, and there is higher societal demands for a sustainable use of the entire raw material. This means that increased focus on obtaining more valorized products from the food value chain by the use of green technology, which needs to be addressed by the food industry. Phase II will strongly contribute to research within this shift. Considering the already outstanding food science research community at Campus Ås, there is every reason to envisage extensive use and further upgrading of such facilities.

Publications from Cristin

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FORINFRA-Nasj.sats. forskn.infrastrukt

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