Open Innovation Submission Portal

Thermal Processing Innovation

Request Number 183517 | Author PepsiCo


PepsiCo seeks alternative heating methods to classical plate and frame heat exchangers to heat up liquid streams at a faster speed and/or higher efficiency.

Plate and frame heat exchangers are considered one of the most common types of exchangers widely used in industrial processes. This exchanger consists of a number of parallel plates held together with a frame. Utility flow (usually hot) and product flow (usually cold) are passed through alternating panels to induce the heat transfer. These heat exchangers often do not give immediate response for processes of high product flow rate and invoke natural gas for the utility heating loop.

In these heat exchangers, water is used as the heating medium, as with many industrial heating processes. The water must be heated from ambient temperatures to high heat in order to achieve beverage pasteurization. In order to reach these temperatures, natural gas is burned to heat up the water loop and puts a significant load for carbon-emissions on the thermal process. Furthermore, the response on water heated heat exchangers is not fast enough to ramp up the flowing product to pasteurization temperature to a reasonable tolerance. A heat-up time on the order of magnitude of minutes is enough to cause a significant delay in production on lines of commercial speed. This puts the thermal process at an inherent deficit as the feedback controls for heating temperature are not immediately realizable on the line and may be a cause for production bottlenecking.

In order to achieve higher production efficiency and better carbon footprint, novel technologies for heaters are desired. Proposed solutions should achieve the following objectives:

  • Faster heating ramp-up time compared to traditional heat exchangers.
  • Invoke equal to/less utilities than conventional plate and frame heat exchangers
Key Success Criteria


  • Safety measures to protect personnel from any physical, chemical, and/or radiological hazards. Any exposure must fall below OSHA permissible exposure limits.
  • Process must provide a deltaT that does not degrade the color or flavor of product.
  • Process must be able to run continuously for an extended period of time at line speeds typical of commercial beverage lines (80-100 GPM) without performance losses.
  • Process variables must be measurable and controllable, entailing temperature inlet, outlet, flow rate, and heat up time.
  • PepsiCo is looking to perform proof of concept testing on pilot and/or commercial scale systems that can be integrated or retrofitted into existing beverage production lines.
  • Equipment must be food-grade and meet all sanitary design requirements


  • Completely eliminates or significantly reduces utility (steam, cooling water, etc.) usage.
  • Is capable of automation with existing standard control systems.
  • Partnered with beverage filler OEM.
  • Utilities/power required for operation can be obtained from renewable resources.
Preferred Collaboration types

PepsiCo is open to a range of collaboration types