Grant Amount - Block Grant in 2010 / ARI Grant in 2012 for $900,000 over 6 years
NGRA sponsored a successful California Specialty Crop Block grant application for this project, “Scalable Solutions to Reduce Water Use and Salinity in Wineries,” designed to reduce the volume and salinity of process water used in wineries and other food processing facilities. The project, led by Dr. Gour Choudhury at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, includes collaborators from the Wine Institute, California League of Food Processors, and the Sustainable Wine Alliance. The first steps include: creating a survey instrument to understand current practices; reaching out to cleaning material suppliers for collaboration and support; and testing current practices to measure effectiveness and waste stream. The facilities involved include Wawona Frozen Foods, E&J Gallo Winery, and Sun-Maid Raisins. After determining standard industry practices, Dr. Choudhury’s research team tested the ability of widely available “green” cleaning agents to remove tartrates from stainless steel tanks, a key concern in winery operations. Unfortunately, none of these materials were effective. This led Dr. Choudhury back to the lab, to better understand the chemical bonds which cause these tartrates to adhere to stainless. Armed with this information, the team reached out to Madison Chemical Company, which reformulated their cleaning agents, developing products which clean tartrates, along with reducing the load of sodium chloride in winery process water.
An additional $450,000 was awarded from the Agricultural Research Initiative (ARI) in 2012 bringing the total grant amount to $900,000. This additional funding has aided in another important aspect of this project: looking at mechanical processes with high pressure water, to aid in the tank cleaning. Work continues to develop a moving spray nozzle to reduce the need to add cleaning materials in the process.