An international stevia production company based in Peru started up the project. Stevia is a plant that originally grows in South America. The inhabitants have been using the leaves as a natural sweetener for centuries. Today, stevia is more and more often used as an alternative to sugar.
The company is committed to sustainable growth while taking care of the environment. That's why they have been actively researching a unique extraction and purification method to process stevia for five years now. From the very beginning, PCA has been closely involved in these studies. More specifically, we helped to develop a process to purify stevia without the use of chemicals or alcohol.
Such a process requires different filtration steps. We conducted (pilot) tests over a period of three years in order to find the right membrane systems. Many plans and concepts were reviewed. We did several tests in our lab in Belgium, as well as at the location where the plants were grown, in Peru. External circumstances however caused the process steps to change regularly before and after our filtration, so we had to adjust our installation over and over again.
Two years ago the concept was finally defined and we could start the lab tests. The good results led us to deliver them a full scale installation at the end of 2016 with which they can filter the extract of stevia. We placed the final installation in the desert on the coast. Meanwhile, the first liters of stevia extract have been produced.
In order to monitor and guide this entire project as it should be, our employees travelled to Peru no less than ten times. Although the flights were long and the conditions were often not ideal, this project was a very interesting and instructive experience for the whole team.
So it is with pride that we can call this project a success. We succeeded in developing, designing and building an installation in a domain where we had no previous knowledge and experience. In addition, the installation is in accordance with the American Food Grade Standards.
Are you also looking for a solution to filter substances? Are you interested in a membrane installation? Please do not hesitate to contact us!