Prototype for microwave-supported drying technology

Within the Hiperdry project, a new prototype dryer for plastics pellets has been developed, combining microwave heating with superheated steam convective drying. An optimum antenna design will allow for gentle microwave application allows gentle microwave application to avoid overheating or damaging the polymer. The system is designed for time and energy efficient drying of conventional and bio-plastics.

The EU-funded project is now in its second year. The concept for the new drying technology was adapted to a Europe-wide benchmark analysis of current drying practices and a scientific investigation of the drying behavior of several important hygroscopic polymers. These included not only PA6 and PET, but also bio-polymers like PLA and PHB.

The construction of a pilot plant for the new drying system has successfully been realized. The use of specifically developed antennas fed by multiple magnetrons ensures gentle and efficient drying. Within the next months, a series of performance tests will follow for an evaluation of optimal operating parameters. The dryer will then be tested in industrial conditions and prepared for market entry.

The new technology is expected to significantly reduce drying time, while assuring the desired product quality. This will lead to a decrease in process energy costs of up to 50 %. An accompanying life cycle assessment (LCA) will evaluate the eco-friendliness and sustainability of the new technology.


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