Epax’s distillation technology creates new opportunities for concentrated omega-3

Epax’s newest facility will see the launch of its molecular distillation technology, enabling the producer to provide better omega-3 concentrates

Epax has fortified its position as a producer of omega-3 with an upgrade to its facility and the launch of molecular distillation technology.

The Norwegian marine lipid specialist was one of the few companies guaranteeing omega-3 with 90% minimum triglyceride content as standard. Now a $40m investment in its facility in Aalesund has enabled it to increase its distillation capacity and further improve its ability to offer quality omega-3 concentrates.

The upgrade includes the introduction of the process technology, EQP+Tech. The technology allows individual fatty acids to be separated from fish oil and ultra-concentrated without the use of excessive heat or harsh chemicals.

The technology is the result of years of research and development. Using data from over a thousand test runs and analyses, Epax’s process engineers studied the performance of various fatty acids in the company’s molecular distillation equipment. By finding the optimum balance between pressure, temperature and time, they identified the best possible way to separate each fatty acid from fish oil while retaining its natural quality.

Based on the research, Epax fine-tuned its re-esterification process and invested in new equipment. It includes digital technology, with sensors monitoring thousands of data-points and making constant adjustments, allowing in-depth tracking of the re-esterification process and ensuring consistent quality.

EQP+Tech will enable Epax to continue guaranteeing a minimum 90% triglyceride content across its range of EPA and DHA ingredients, as well as developing new concentrated Omega-3 products for a range of health needs. The speed and gentleness of the process means there are particular application opportunities in delivery systems where sensory properties are important.

Bjørn Refsum, CEO of Epax, said: “In omega-3 production, the big question is how you balance the never-ending quest for higher concentration with the need for quality and reproducibility. Epax was already a leader in ultra-concentrated omega-3, but this upgrade takes us to a whole new level. To our knowledge, no-one else is using technology as sophisticated as this and the possibilities for manufacturers are huge. They’ll benefit not just from high concentration, purity and consistency, but also great sensory properties, allowing them to create products that meet the growing consumer demand for high-quality omega-3.”

The upgrade concludes a major phase of Epax’s investment in its facility, with further improvements and investments already in progress.