Controlling CO2 and O2 in wine

In the wine industry there are many applications that require the addition or removal of gases. The control of both carbon dioxide and oxygen is paramount in both the product and any make-up fluids to prevent spoilage or changes to the product.

Whilst there are existing methods used to control the levels of both carbon dioxide and oxygen in the wine manufacturing process, these do not always exhibit the finer control demanded in various situations.

A product that is relatively new to the market, 3M Liqui-Cel Membrane Contactors provide the perfect solution to control these gases. In addition other potential applications include nitrogenation and carbonation.

3M Liqui-Cel Membrane Contactors are widely used across a variety of industries and use a microporous hollow fibre membrane to add gases to, and remove gases from liquids. Liquid flows over the outside of the hollow fibres while a vacuum, strip gas, or both in combination, is applied to the inside of the fibre. The membrane is hydrophobic and allows direct contact between the gas and liquid stream without dispersion and by varying the relative pressures it is possible to add or strip gases very accurately.

In a winery 3M Membrane Contactors offer the opportunity to control CO2 and O2 in-line during wine transfers or to make final adjustments before bottling or export loading. They can be used to remove oxygen whilst simultaneously adding CO2 to the wine which is a major advantage over existing technologies

Another benefit is the precise control that can be achieved, for example rather than sparging large CO2 bubbles into a liquid Membrane Contactors diffuse the CO2 into the wine at a molecular level producing a much more controlled level of CO2 in the end product. As a result less CO2 is required to achieve the same level of carbonation.

The design of the contactors is compact and modular allowing for a wide range of flows and the flexibility to expand the system in the future. The low pressure drop through the system means they can often be used in-line on existing systems without the need to upgrade the pumps.

This is another exciting new technology for the wine industry that with a large number of potential applications. There are many other applications in the wider beverage industry that also require the addition or removal of gases.

For further information or to discuss your own application please contact Erwin Ona at 3M on 0408 386 331