Processing

Please wait...

Settings

Settings

Goto Application

1. WO2020202224 - TEMPERATURE MANAGEMENT AND REUSE OF FOOD PROCESSING LIQUID

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

TEMPERATURE MANAGEMENT AND REUSE OF FOOD PROCESSING LIQUID

Field of the invention

The invention provides a device and a system for facilitating reuse of food processing liquid, such as RSW. Furthermore, the present invention provides a temperature management system in reuse of food processing liquid to facilitate better quality food products after transportation of food items.

Background

When catching fish, such as pelagic fish, one of the major tasks is to bring the catch to shore without as little loss of quality as possible. Fishing vessels have been designed to receive the catch in tank containers with cooling technology to keep the catch at an ideal temperature. For species such as pelagic fish and other species caught using mid-water trawling tank systems using refrigerated sea water (RWS systems) have been designed to enable preservation of large catches of fish. The RWS technology allows for rapid cooling of the catch, where the catch is brought to a temperature close to the freezing point of seawater. In principle the RSW system works such that seawater is re-circulated by pumps through the storage tanks and heat exchange devices. The seawater is distributed evenly through the bottom of the tanks where after the chilled seawater flows upwards through the tank and through the catch. This maintains the catch partially floating through the cooling process and the storage and transportation. A suction mechanism draws the seawater to the top of the tank, where it exits the tank and is returned to the heat exchange mechanism.

When off-loading the catch from the RSW tank of the fishing vessel the catch is pumped in the RSW liquid to a storage tank on shore, where the sea water is separated from the fish and pumped back to the ship for continued transport of the catch to the tank on shore. Frome the storage tank, the catch is distributed to transport vehicles or direct to a factory. One problem with such systems is that during the pumping of the catch to the storage tank on shore, the seawater becomes warmer and contaminated with debris of all sorts, which requires the need to dispose of the RSW liquid. This is a costly and time- consuming procedure.

Pumping devices are also known in the art for facilitating treatment of food items, such as fish, during the transportation in the pumping devices. WO 2018/185791 discloses a

spiral pump for treating food items, where the temperature of the pumping liquid has processing effect on the food items. Reuse of such processing liquid would not only mean cost saving for the producers of food items but is also reduce the environmental footsteps of the food production.

Summary of the Invention

The present invention provides a new method, system and device for reuse of liquid in systems for transport and treatment of food items, such as fish. The new method and device provide solutions to deliver a better product for further processing, whether it is pumping fish from a tank inside a fishing vessel to a factory or if it is delivering fish to processing machinery from any storage or reservoir. Furthermore, the new system provides a solution for reducing the use of processing liquid or refrigerated sea water (RSW) or food processing or transfer fluid in order to reduce the environmental footprint comprising a water footprint and a carbon footprint of a food product. In systems where RWS is used to store and pump food items from storage to a processing site, the RSW becomes warmer (the temperature rises) during the pumping. This is both due to the fact that the distance in the piping allows the RSW to get warmer and in such systems, it is customary to pump the RSW back to the reservoir to transport more items therefrom to the processing site resulting in increased temperature of the fish in the reservoir and increasing temperature of the fish pumped later in the process of emptying the reservoir. As the temperature rises in the reservoir, the quality of the fish increases and for example the fish at the bottom of the tank might get crushed under the weight of the fish above due to rising temperature of the RSW. The reuse and temperature adjustment of RSW, where RSW is used for storing and transporting a catch such as fish, has multiple benefits. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it helps delivering fish to the processing site at lower temperature and therefore in better condition. Reuse of water or liquid during food processing or transfer of food items, where the fluid is used for storing, transporting or processing food items such as fish, in combination with temperature maintenance of the fluid, provides a more environmental friendly way of handling food and increases the quality of the food items. In the case of sensitive fish, the system of the present invention maintains the fish in desired temperature during the whole transport and delivery to further processing, which results in a firmer fish at the end of the transportation process.

One of the embodiments disclosed herein uses a spiral pump to deliver the food items to further processing. In such embodiments, a predetermined amount of food items is introduced into the first winding of a spiral pump together with a predetermined and

calculated amount of fluid at a desired temperature. In some embodiments the air-phase in the spiral pump is controlled at in-feeding level to feed/breath atmospheric air in each winding or feed items in the pump with gases such as ozone for treating the food items for bacteria. After the items have passed through the spiral pump, the items continue to further processing, whereas the gas/air is evacuated, and the liquid is collected in a collection container where it is filtered before entering the container. The liquid in the collection container is then passed through a heat exchange system on its way to a fluid reservoir where it is maintained until it is pumped back into the spiral pump at the desired temperature. In this manner the pumping liquid is filtered between pumping rounds and as it takes up temperature from the food items during the pumping step it is passed through a heat exchange system before the next pumping round.

One other of the embodiments disclosed herein uses the filtering system, the heat exchange system together with a buffer tub and a fluid reservoir to filter and refrigerate RSW used in storing and transporting fish from a fishing vessel to shore. After catching fish such as herring and mackerel, it is stored in tanks in RSW at a set temperature. The fish is then pumped to shore in RSW and thereafter the RSW is then filtered and recirculated to the buffer tub via the heat exchanger mechanism to maintain a set temperature of the RSW in the system. When needed the RSW from the fluid reservoir is pumped back to the ship for pumping more fish to shore. In some embodiments of the present invention, the following features may be employed : a) providing re-cycled fluid system for food processing fluid to enable reuse of the fluid, b) using filtering means for filtering away debris from the food processing fluid prior to re-cycling of the fluid in the system, c) providing temperature management of the food processing fluid to maintain a desired temperature of the fluid and make the reuse of the fluid beneficial for the quality of the food products, and d) providing a system where gas and additives can be used during processing and added into the system based on feedback signals from sensors. There are a number of benefits in using the method and the device of the present invention including i) pumping sensitive marine species damages the marine species if the temperature of the transfer and processing fluid rises with time and reuse of the fluid, but the temperature management of the fluid reduces loss of quality, ii) reduced amount of water is needed in the present system and the amount of additives are also reduce making the present solution environmentally friendlier than prior methods, and iii) introduction of fluid ice into the system provides a simple and effective increase of the refrigerating power of the fluid.

It is an object of the present invention to overcome or ameliorate the aforementioned drawbacks of the prior art and to provide an improved and/or alternative and/or additional apparatus for treating and transporting food items in temperature adjusted

liquid providing re-use and temperature management of the liquid. It is one preferred object of the present invention to provide a method where the temperature adjusted liquid is filtered before it is passed through a heat exchanger prior to blending the temperature adjusted liquid with new food items for transfer or treatment. It is one preferred object of the present invention to provide a device for separating the RSW liquid from fish pumped from a fishing vessel to shore, filtering the RSW and running it through a heat exchanger before reusing it to transfer fish to further processing or send it back to the fishing vessel for pumping more fish to shore in temperature adjusted liquid. Moreover, it is a preferred object of the present invention to provide a method and a device preferably designed to reuse processing liquid used in treating and transferring food items in devices like spiral pumps or screw conveyors utilizing heat exchange devices and filtering devices.

The object(s) underlying the present invention is (are) particularly solved by the features defined in the independent claims. The dependent claims relate to preferred

embodiments of the present invention. Further additional and/or alternative aspects are discussed below.

Thus, at least one of the preferred objects of the present invention is solved by an apparatus for treating and/or transporting food items in liquid and reuse of the liquid.

The apparatus comprises a) reservoir or storage container for storing food items to be transferred and processed, b) treatment device for treating food items in liquid, c) means for transporting food items 3 in liquid from reservoir or storage container to the treatment device, d) liquid handling device for receiving liquid from the treatment device after treating the food items in liquid, said liquid handling device. The liquid handling device further comprising further comprises i) a first container for receiving liquid for treating and/or transporting food items, ii) a second container for receiving liquid from the first container, iii) means for transferring liquid from the first container to the second container, iv) a filtering device for filtering the liquid as it is transferred from the first container to the second container, v) piping between the first container and the second container for returning the liquid back to the first container, and vi) a heat exchange device connected in the piping between the first container and the second container. The apparatus further comprises piping for transporting the liquid from the second container of the liquid handling device to the treatment device, where the heat exchange device adjusts the of the liquid to a desired transfer and/or treatment value, and where the piping for transporting the liquid from the second container of the liquid handling device to the treatment device provides temperature adjusted liquid for continued treatment of food in the treatment device.

Another preferred object of the present invention is solved by an apparatus for treating and/or transporting food items in liquid. The apparatus comprises the following; a) transport and treatment device for treating and/or transporting food items in liquid, b) liquid handling device, said liquid handling device, further comprising : i) a first container for receiving liquid for treating and/or transporting food items, ii) a filtering device for filtering the liquid in the first container, iii) a second container for receiving and storing the filtered liquid, and vi) a heat exchange device connected in piping between the first container and the second container. The heat exchange device adjusts the of the liquid to a desired transfer and/or treatment value, and the temperature adjusted liquid is pumped back to the transport and treatment device for continued transport and treatment of further food items.

Another preferred object of the present invention is solved by a method for

transportation of food items in liquid and reuse of the liquid. The method comprises the steps of: a) transporting food items from a reservoir or storage container for storing food items to a treatment device, b) treating the food items in liquid in the treatment device, c) feeding the food items in liquid out of the treatment device and separating the liquid from the items, d) transferring the liquid from the treatment device to a first container of a liquid handling device, e) feeding liquid from the first container to a second container of the liquid handling device, f) filtering the liquid as it is transferred from the first container to the second container, g) returning the liquid back to the first container either; i) back to the first container via a heat exchange device, or ii) back to the treatment device via a heat exchange device. Furhtermore, the heat exchange device adjusts the temperature of the liquid to a desired temperature, and the means for transporting the liquid from the first container of the liquid handling device to the second container or treatment device provides temperature adjusted liquid for continued treatment of further food items in liquid.

Another preferred object of the present invention is solved by an apparatus for transportation of food items in liquid and reuse of the liquid. The apparatus comprises: a) a storage/transport container for storing food items to be transferred and treated in liquid, b) piping for transporting food items in liquid from a storage/transport container, c) a buffer tank for storing the food items in liquid before further transportation to processing or storage, d) a liquid handling device further comprising; i) a first container for receiving food items in liquid, said first container for being the buffer tank for storing the food items in liquid, ii) means for transferring the food items out of the first container, iii) a second container for receiving liquid from the first container, iv) means for transferring liquid from the first container to the second container, v) a filtering device for filtering the liquid as it is transferred from the first container to the second container, vi ) piping between the first container and the second container for returning the liquid back to the first container, and vii) a heat exchange device connected in the piping between the first container and the second container. The apparatus further comprises e) piping for transporting the liquid from the second container of the liquid handling device to the storage/transport container, where the heat exchange device adjusts the temperature of the liquid to a desired temperature, and where the piping for transporting the liquid from the second container of the liquid handling device to the storage/transport container provides temperature adjusted liquid for continued transport of food items from the container.

Another preferred object of the present invention is solved by a method for treating and transporting food items in liquid. The method said apparatus comprises the steps of:

a) transferring food items to a device for treating and/or transporting food items in liquid,

b) transferring the food items from the transport and treatment device for further processing or storing,

wherein the method further comprises the steps of:

c) receiving liquid from the transport and treatment device in a first container through a filtering device,

d) transferring the liquid from the first container to a second container, and

e) adjusting the temperature of the temperature adjusted liquid using a heat

exchange device connected in piping between the first container and the second container.

Another preferred object of the present invention is solved by an apparatus for transportation of fish in RSW and reuse of the RSW. The apparatus comprises: a) a storage/transport container onboard a fishing vessel for storing fish after catching in RSW, b) piping for transporting the fish in RSW from the storage/transport container, c) a buffer tank for storing the fish in RSW before further transportation to processing or storage, and d) a liquid handling device further comprising : i) a first container for receiving the fish in RSW, said first container for being the buffer tank for storing the fish in RSW, ii) means for transferring the fish out of the first container, iii) a second container for receiving RSW from the first container, iv) means for transferring RSW from the first container to the second container, v) a filtering device for filtering the RSW as it is transferred from the first container to the second container, vi) piping between the first container and the second container for returning the RSW back to the first container, and vii) a heat exchange device connected in the piping between the first container and the second container. Furthermore, the apparatus comprises e) piping for transporting the RSW from the second container of the liquid handling device to the storage/transport container, where the heat exchange device adjusts the temperature of the RSW to a desired temperature, and where the piping for transporting the RSW from the second container of the liquid handling device to the storage/transport container provides temperature adjusted RSW for continued transport of fish from the container.

The object disclosed above provides an apparatus and system to maintain a desired temperature of the RSW during the transport of fish from the vessel to the combined device and therefrom to further processing. Furthermore, this system allows reuse of the RSW in a desire temperature and thereby maintaining the quality of the fish as the chilling conditions of the RSW are not lost.

Another preferred object of the present invention is solved by an apparatus for treating and transporting food items, where the apparatus comprises; a) a spiral pump for treating and/or transporting food items in temperature adjusted liquid, b) a liquid handling device, further comprising i) a first container for storing the temperature adjusted liquid, ii) a filtering device for filtering the temperature adjusted liquid as it is transported from the first container, iii) a second container for storing temperature adjusted liquid after filtering, and iv) a heat exchange device heat exchange device connected in piping between the first container and the second container for setting the temperature of the temperature adjusted liquid. The filtering means is a filtering conveyor belt which filters debris from the fluid as it is directed over the filtering conveyor during transfer from the first container to the second container. Furthermore, the temperature adjusted liquid is pumped back to the transport and treatment device for continued transport and treatment of further food items.

Description of the invention

The embodiments disclosed herein relate to the method, the apparatus and the systems of the invention.

In the present context the terms "liquid", "fluid", "processing liquid" or "temperature adjusted liquid" refer to the liquid flowing through the apparatus and system of the present invention. The fluid is circulated through the apparatus and system for transporting, handling and/or processing the food items at a certain temperature. As the temperature of the fluid rises during transportation of food items in the fluid and handling of the food items due to the fact that the food items and devices take up temperature

from the fluid, the fluid needs to be re-adjusted t to the desired temperature. Furthermore, the terms "liquid" and "fluid" are used equally to describe the liquid state phase of the components passing through the devices of the invention for treatment or transportation of food items such as fish The liquid can be sea water, refrigerated sea water (RSW) or saline solutions used for handling and processing food items.

In the present context the term "under-cooling" or "sub-chilling" refers to the process or method of bringing fish to a desired temperature at or near the phase transition of freezing the fish without freezing the fish, and generally below the freezing point of water (0°C). Furthermore, these terms refer to a fish or fish product being brought to or kept at a desired temperature at or near the phase transition of freezing the fish without freezing the fish, such as a temperature below 0°C (sub-zero conditions), such as preferably at or below -0.2°C, or more preferably at or below -0.5°C, or at or below -0.7°C, or at or below -0.8°C, such as at or below -1.0°C, such as at or below -1.5°C.

In an embodiment of the present invention the apparatus further comprises an in-feeding device for delivering food items in liquid to the transport and treatment device.

In an embodiment of the present invention the transport and treatment device is a spiral pump.

In an embodiment of the present invention the transport and treatment device is a screw conveyor.

In an embodiment of the present invention the first container and the second container are housed in a single housing.

In an embodiment of the present invention the amount of fluid in the second container regulates the amount of fluid pumped from the first container through the heat exchange device and into the second container.

In an embodiment of the present invention the filtering device is a filter conveyor positioned prior to or above the inlet into the first container and/or the second container to filter the liquid prior to entering the heat exchange device.

In an embodiment of the present invention the filtering device is placed to filter the fluid before it enters the first container or as it is transferred from the first container to the second container.

In an embodiment of the present invention the apparatus further comprises a gas inlet and a gas outlet connected to the spiral pump.

In an embodiment of the present invention the heat exchange device is connected in piping between the first container and the second container and the fluid can be passed through the heat exchange on the way from the first container to the second container or on the way from the second container to the first container.

In an embodiment of the present invention the apparatus further comprises an in-feed unit for feeding a pre-determined amount of food items to the transport and treatment device.

In an embodiment of the present invention the in-feed unit comprises weighing means.

In an embodiment of the present invention the apparatus further comprises a component mixer for preparing a blend of food items and temperature adjusted liquid and for feeding the blend into the transport and treatment device.

In an embodiment of the present invention the apparatus further comprises an additive balance device for required amount of additives to the temperature adjusted liquid.

In an embodiment of the present invention the apparatus, the system and the method further comprises a sensor in the piping leading to the transfer and treatment device from the second container measures the concentration of an additive to send a feed-back signal to the control system for the apparatus to activate the additive balance device.

In an embodiment of the present invention the apparatus further comprises means for introducing fluid ice into the component mixer to provide a simple and effective way to increase of the refrigerating power of the fluid.

In an embodiment of the present invention the apparatus further comprises an inlet for fresh water and/or additional brine or RSW.

In an embodiment of the present invention the temperature adjusted liquid is RSW or process fluid for treating the food items.

In an embodiment of the present invention the transport and treatment device and the first container for storing the temperature adjusted liquid is the same device comprising i) a tub for receiving and storing food items in fluid and ii) transport means for transporting food items out of the tub.

In an embodiment of the present invention the transport means in the tub is a conveyor.

In an embodiment of the present invention the apparatus further comprises a reservoir for storing the food items in liquid prior to feeding the food items in liquid to the transport and treatment device.

In an embodiment of the present invention the reservoir storing the food items for transport and treatment is a storage tank on board a vessel.

In an embodiment of the present invention the temperature adjusted liquid is also pumped back from the second container to the reservoir storing the food items to transport further food items to the transport and treatment device.

In embodiments where a spiral pump is used in the apparatus of the present invention to facilitate the method of the present invention, the a calculated amount of liquid and food items is introduced into the first winding of the spiral pump and then the tubing is rotated only one circle at the time to move the food items in the liquid into the second winding. When the spiral pump is used for introducing additives such as anti-bacterial agents into the tubing, the additives are introduced into the second winding through a second tubing, which is wound through the inlet of the first tubing and into the second winding.

In the present context, the principle of Archimedes ensures that if the total amount of liquid, food items and additives does not exceed 50% of the volume of a winding the food items in the winding do not mix with the food items in the next winding and the air filling about 50% or more of the volume of the winding pushes the content of a prior winding to the next one.

In an embodiment of the present invention the salt concentration and set temperatures of a salt-controlled and temperature-controlled solution(s) for each step in for processing food items are based on the size and fat content of the food items being brought treated.

In an embodiment of the present invention the food items are being brought to an undercooled state and then the time for each step in under-cooling is based on the size and the fat content of the food items as well as the quantity of the food items being cooled.

In an embodiment of the present invention the fluid is maintained at a temperature below the freezing point of the food items, but at or near the phase transition

temperature of freezing the food items. The tumbling provided by the blade prevents the food items from freezing but brings the whole food item more efficiently to a sub-chilled stage. For fish such as salmon, the temperature is in the range from between about -0.5 to about -2°C during storing, transfer and processing, such as at about -0.5°C, about -1°C, or about-1.5°C.

In an embodiment of the present invention the temperature of the salt solution is maintained at a temperature which is at least about 1,0°C higher than the freezing point of the solution, and preferably at least about 1.5°C higher.

In an embodiment of the present invention the temperature adjusted liquid is pumped back to a transport and treatment device for continued transport and treatment of further food items.

In an embodiment of the present invention fish is pumped from a reservoir tank onboard a vessel to a first container for on shore in RSW, and thereafter the fish is transported to storage or further processing in the RSW before the RSW is returned back to the reservoir tank onboard a vessel for pumping more fish to shore.

In an embodiment of the present invention the RSW is temperature adjusted before pumping back.

In an embodiment of the present invention the filtering device is one or more filter conveyors rendering filtered liquid or RSW in the storing tank and conveying debris to a separate solid phase storing means for further processing.

Description of drawings

The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description given hereinafter and the accompanying drawings which are given by way of illustration only, and thus, are not limitative of the present invention, and wherein :

FIG. 1 is a schematic drawing of devices and a system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic drawing of devices and a system according to second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a schematic drawing of devices and system as shown in Fig. 2 but from a different angle.

Figure 1 outlines a system of the present invention for treating and transporting food items in fluid and the devices of an apparatus according to the embodiment shown in the drawing. The heart of the system shown herein is the spiral pump and other devices are connected to the spiral pump for providing support to the transfer and the treatment provided by the system. The exact setup depends on the material to be processed and the customer specific requirements. Several spiral pumps can share the connected hardware to make the system more efficient. The embodiment shown in Fig. 1 further comprises hardware and software, which in combination can excite different effects within the product, based on the customer's needs.

The infeed unit 1 feeds (a) food items through transfer means 24 into the spiral pump 2 and releases a certain amount of food items at a specified time or interval into the spiral pump 2. The infeed unit can be a weighing hopper, a product counter, a flow scale or any other device delivering a certain amount of food items to the spiral pump 2. The spiral pump comprises several coils of pipe or tubing, mounted on a rotating frame, where the food items are transported through the coils as the spiral is turned by a motor. In some embodiments, a position sensor informs about the current angular position of the spiral and the software-controlled drive modulates the rotational speed of the pump according to this information, to e.g. increase the infeed time and improve efficiency. Three phases, namely solid (— ), liquid ( - ) and gas ( ) are pumped through the spiral in the embodiment shown in Fig. 1, where the food items stand for the solid material. The drawing shows a component mixer 3 for mixing fluid and food items and in some cases the air phase, although the air phase can be injected into the first or second winding of the spiral pump. The three phases are separated at or after the outlet of the spiral pump.

Starting with the food items, the food items are transported onwards (b) to further processing. In the case handling fish, the transport through a spiral pump in refrigerated process fluid results in the fish orientating in a "swimming" position as well as stiffening of the fish. This makes the fish less likely to damage and better suited for further processing such as filleting. After leaving the last coil, the food items can be lifted to a certain height and transported a certain length, depending on the spiral design

Secondly, following the fluid circulating through the spiral pump 2, it is obtained (c) from a storing tank 4 for the process fluid in the fluid reservoir 5. The fluid is required to build up a pressure difference, to pump the food items and to bring certain effect or treatment to the food items. When leaving the spiral pump 2, the process fluid is separated from the solid product and returned (d) into a collecting container 6 of the fluid reservoir 5. A filter conveyor 7 in the reservoir helps to clean the process liquid from solid debris and remove it (e) out of the reservoir. The reservoir consists of two separate sections. The first section is the entry section, or collection tank 6, where cleaned fluid is collected. The second section is the storing tank 4 for temperature regulated fluid process fluid. As spilling may occur in the process, the fluid level in the reservoir is observed and new fluid added if required. As mentioned above the process fluid is in most cases temperature regulated. A heat exchange system comprising piping 8 and a heat exchange device 9 circulates (f) the process fluid between the two sections in the reservoir. It ensures that enough fluid of the required temperature is available for the process fluid system to pump (b) into the spiral pump 2. The process fluid system 10 uses a software-controlled pump to inject the process fluid into the spiral pump. A flow sensor ensures, that the right amount of fluid is added at every time.

The gas phase can be air at atmospheric pressure (naturally aspirated setup) or pressurized gas that is blown (g) into the intake 3 from a gas system 11 and recovered (h) at the outtake back in the same or different gas system 11. The gas system 11 consists of an intake 12 and outtake 13 part. On the intake 12 it can be a simple breather in case of using a naturally aspirated setup (air). Blowing gas into the pump can affect the product by increasing pressure in the pump or, in case of using technical gases like e.g. ozone, the product can be influenced in its properties and treated to eliminate e.g. bacteria. On the outtake side 13 a controlled valve releases gas depending on the angular position of the pump. This allows the gas to be separated from the solid/liquid phase earlier in the process. In case that technical gases are used, the gases can be recovered and reintroduced (as shown in this embodiment).

An additive balance system 14 can be a part of the system provided by the invention as shown in Fig 1. With feedback from the sensor in the heat exchanger system 10, the additive balance system 14 adds (i) the required amount of additive ( - ) to the fluid to achieve or maintain the required concentration according to the recipe. More than one additive system can be used at the same time. Additives can be salt, phosphate, sanitizer, cleaning agent and other. A concentration sensor prior to the heat exchanger gives feedback to the additive balance system (7) about the concentration of additives dissolved in the fluid. Additionally, a fresh water injection 15 can be provided for introducing fresh water to the collecting container 6 the fluid reservoir 5. The drawing also shows a fluid ice reservour 22. Fluid ice can be transferred to the componone mixer to adjsut the temperature of the fluid in the spiral pump.

Figure 2 shows an embodiment where fish in RSW is being transported from a fishing vessel to shore, where the RSW is reused using the system and devices of the invention. After catching fish such as herring and mackerel, it is stored in tanks in RSW at a set temperature. The fish is then pumped to shore in RSW and thereafter the RSW is filtered and temperature adjusted before it is returned to the ship for pumping more fish to shore. During transportation of the fish, the temperature of the RSW increases and therefore the refrigerating properties of the RSW are reduced from the time the first portion of this is pumped from the vessel until the last portion of fish is transported to storage or processing. Fig. 2 shows how fish in RSW is being pumped (a) from a container or tank 16 in a fishing vessel 17 to a tub 18 on shore. The tub 18 has the function of storing or buffering the fish before the fish is transported to further processing, while maintaining a refrigerating temperature. The fish is then transported (b) by a transfer mean 19, such as a conveyor, from the tub 18. In this embodiment the tub 18 for storing or buffering the fish before the fish is transported to further processing is has the same function as the collection tank 6 in Fig. 1. Means for allowing overflow 20 from the tub 18/6 directs (d) the RSW from the tub 18/6 to the storing tank 4 over the filter conveyors 7a-c rendering filtered RSW in the storing tank 4 and conveying debris (e) to a separate solid phase storing means 21 for further processing. The filtered RSW in the storing tank 4 is then either i) re-directed (m) to the tub 18/6 via a heat exchange device 9 to maintain the same temperature in the tub 18/6 as in the storing tank 4 or ii) re-directed (k) back to the vessel 17. As the temperature of the RSW is the same in the tub 18/6 as in the storing tank 4 the temperature of the RSW in this system is maintained the same through the whole system.

Figure 3 shows the same embodiment as shown in Fig. 2, where fish in RSW is being transported from a fishing vessel to a transfer tub on shore. The drawing outlines in a side view how fish in RSW is being pumped (a) from a fishing vessel 17 to a tub 18 on shore. The tub 18 has an open upper side with a raised cleated conveyor belt 19 for storing the fish before the fish is transported (b) on the conveyor belt 19 to further processing. Means for allowing overflow 20 from the tub 18 directs the RSW (d) from the tub 18 to the storing tank 4 over the filter conveyor 7 providing filtered RSW in the storing tank 4 and conveying debris (e) to a separate solid phase storing means 21, but the debris may contain valuable biologic material which may be used for processing such as meal production. The filtered RSW in the storing tank 4 is then either re-directed (m) to the tub 18 via a heat exchange device 9 to maintain the same temperature in the tub 18 as in the storing tank 4 or ii) re-directed (k) back to the vessel 17.

Figure 4 shows a simplified version of the system shown in Fig. 1. The infeed unit 1 feeds (a) food items into the spiral pump 2 and releases a certain amount of food items at a specified time or interval into the spiral pump 2. In the embodiment shown in Fig. 4 the spiral pump receives material in two phases, namely solid (— ) and liquid ( - ), where the food items stand for the solid material. The component mixer 3 produces a blend of food items in liquid to be injected into the first winding of the spiral pump. The two phases are separated at or after the outlet of the spiral pump. The food items are transported onwards (b) to further processing, whereas the process fluid is separated from the solid product and returned (d) into a collecting container 6 of the fluid reservoir 5. A filter conveyor 7 in the reservoir is provided to clean the process liquid from solid debris and remove it (e) out of the reservoir. The reservoir 5 consists of two separate sections. The first section is the entry section, or collection tank 6, where cleaned fluid is collected. The second section is the storing tank 4 for temperature regulated fluid process fluid. A heat exchange system comprising piping 8 and a heat exchange device 9 circulates (f) the process fluid between the two sections in the reservoir. The fluid circulating through the spiral pump 2, it is obtained (c) from the storing tank 4 in the fluid reservoir 5, so thereby the spiral pump is provided with temperature regulated fluid. The liquid handling device 23 is defined herein comprising the first 4 and the second 6containers of the fluid reservoir 5, the filter conveyor 7 and the heat exchanger 9.

As used herein, including in the claims, singular forms of terms are to be construed as also including the plural form and vice versa, unless the context indicates otherwise.

Thus, it should be noted that as used herein, the singular forms "a," "an," and "the" include plural references unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.

Throughout the description and claims, the terms "comprise", "including", "having", and "contain" and their variations should be understood as meaning "including but not limited to", and are not intended to exclude other components.

The present invention also covers the exact terms, features, values and ranges etc. in case these terms, features, values and ranges etc. are used in conjunction with terms such as about, around, generally, substantially, essentially, at least etc. (i.e., "about 3" shall also cover exactly 3 or "substantially constant" shall also cover exactly constant).

The term "at least one" should be understood as meaning "one or more", and therefore includes both embodiments that include one or multiple components. Furthermore, dependent claims that refer to independent claims that describe features with "at least one" have the same meaning, both when the feature is referred to as "the" and "the at least one".

It will be appreciated that variations to the foregoing embodiments of the invention can be made while still falling within the scope of the invention can be made while still falling within scope of the invention. Features disclosed in the specification, unless stated otherwise, can be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent or similar purpose. Thus, unless stated otherwise, each feature disclosed represents one example of a generic series of equivalent or similar features.

Use of exemplary language, such as "for instance", "such as", "for example" and the like, is merely intended to better illustrate the invention and does not indicate a limitation on the scope of the invention unless so claimed. Any steps described in the specification may be performed in any order or simultaneously, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

All of the features and/or steps disclosed in the specification can be combined in any combination, except for combinations where at least some of the features and/or steps are mutually exclusive. In particular, preferred features of the invention are applicable to all aspects of the invention and may be used in any combination.