First Results by Applying DIC pre-treatment Technology

To evaluate the effect on heavy metals stabilization by a pre-treatment of rice husk, the employment of Instant Pressure Drop (DIC) technology was realized in the frame of COSMOS-RICE project.

The DIC technology is based on a thermo-mechanical process that requires some moisture level in the material to be treated. A rapid pressure drop occurs during the material heating, producing bursts of moisture evaporation inside the bulk of material, with the occurrence of a structural damage. It was reported that DIC pre-treatment is able to make a material porous and expanded within short treatment time.

The DIC already known applications include material sterilization, removal of certain inhibitors in legumes, structural expansion of fruit and vegetables, drying process acceleration, enhancement of extraction of essential oils, coffee extraction, and preservation of food materials.

For the first time, DIC was applied to a different process: it was used to traet rice husk (RH) before of its employ in the COSMOS-RICE technology.

The most suitable texturing process, for the employ of RH in the COSMOS-RICE technology, allows obtaining the final product at lower density and with less residual water content. For this aim, several DIC pre-treatments were tested, changing pressure steam, temperature in the chambers, maximum applied pressure, conditioning time and number of repetitions. Based on these preliminary tests, two DIC pre-treatments were identified as the most suitable to obtain a final moisture content of about 10%.

The results of this activity, that has been very recently published, show the capability of DIC pre-treatment to increase the RHA stabilization of heavy metals.

On the basis of these results, it is possible to conclude that the DIC technology, developed to pre-treat food, can also be applied to pre-treat agricultural waste materials. In addition, the pre-treatment of other waste typologies should be investigated.

To read the results of this work you can download the paper here.

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