Drying with superheated steam

Range of services

Fraunhofer IGB provides a specific process for industrial users where products are dried with superheated steam at atmospheric pressure. Research and development tasks referring to clients’ potential products – such as building materials, feeding stuff, food or organic fertilizers – are performed in several labs and technical plants. For research, development and process applications on behalf of industrial clients, the Fraunhofer IGB operates in both stationary and mobile labs. Equipment for analytics and powerful software tools used to simulate and design prototypes are also available.


The following services are on offer

  • Scientific characterization and specification, research on tasks related to drying and heat transfer
  • Development of specific drying process concepts according to the individual needs of customers
  • Layout and specification of process by an interdisciplinary team with expertise in process engineering, design, chemistry, microbiology and electric engineering
  • Laboratory plants for test trials
  • Product-related analysis of the drying process with a wide range of analytic equipment and competences
  • Design specification of process unit and components, e.g. by integrated combination of 3D CAD design and numerical modeling of fluids, heat transfer etc., with latest software releases
  • Assisting and monitoring clients from first test trials up to commissioning of a plant

We cooperate with a network of qualified engineering companies in order to implement our clients’ concepts as accurately as possible.

Infrastructure and technical equipment

Continuously operating plant

Mobile plants on laboratory and pilot-plant scales are available to demonstrate the drying technology for drying with superheated steam at atmospheric pressure.


Belt dryer (pilot plant)

  • Evaporative capacity of 50 kg/h at a working temperature of up to 250 °C
  • Product transport: belt conveyers are usually used but other conveyer systems can be set up to meet each customer‘s specific requirements
  • Construction: according to the standards applicable for the food industry, if desired within the EU Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Program CIP

The system is closed upwards, but is atmospherically open downwards. Excess steam can flow to the lower section due to its higher density, which at the same time prevents the infiltration of ambient air. By means of a systematic discharge of the excess steam, the boundary layer between the superheated steam and the air is controlled.
The product passes through four chambers or areas in which process parameters such as drying temperature and flow rate can be adjusted individually. Volatile components can be recovered and condensed selectively if required.


Semi-continuous laboratory dryer

  • Evaporative capacity of 1,5 kg/h at a working temperature of up to 250 °C
  • Product transport: semi-continuous in sample vessels suitable for bulk material
  • Construction: semi-mobile

All relevant process parameters can be adjusted individually and volatile components can be recovered and condensed selectively if required.


Batch dryer (mobile)

  • Evaporative capacity of 7 kg/h at a working temperature of up to 180 °C
  • Product transport: batch transport suitable for bulk materials
  • Construction: mobile system for pre-trials on site

This system is run to qualify the process on principal especially for products, which are to be dried directly in a process step when time is a critical factor.