Evaporators using Mechanical Vapor Recompression (MVR) have been operating successfully in various food industries for several years. Growing concern over fuel availability and rising energy costs has created an interest in the feasibility of applying this technology to citrus processing. There are several problems, however, inherent to concentrating orange juice, which make the economical application of MVR evaporation difficult. These include the short processing season, appreciable boiling point rise of the concentrated juice, and the quality problems associated with long residence times and high temperatures. One possible approach is to operate the compressor under vaccum, use the MVR unit as a preconcentrator, and finish the concentration in a standard multiple-effect evaporator.

Two versions of this system, each with a different pre-concentration level, were compared to TASTE evaporators. An analysis showed that if the economy ratio, pounds of water evaporated per pound of steam, for the TASTE evaporator was greater than 3. 5, then the payback period for an MVR system would be greater than 6 years. As the economy ratio for the TASTE evaporator decreases, the payback for the MVR system improves.

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