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Building the Brewery of the Future

Source:Ringier Food

Date Published:9/11/2017 05:09:19 PM

The “Brewery of the Future” project is about developing a brewing facility that can can be self energy efficient

Specialists at Krones are working on a project that will make breweries more energy self sufficient. This new concept is in addition to the many energy-economical machines and lines for brewing and filling beer the company has released over the past few years. Prize-winning products like the Stromboli wort boiling system, the EquiTherm energy recovery system, or the low-temperature brewery have in the past few years made for a significant reduction in thermal-energy and power consumption. Now Krones is taking yet another major step forward: with a holistically engineered concept describing the Brewery of the Future, Krones intends to create a vision for upcoming developments.

The “Brewery of the Future” project is about developing a brewing facility that can manage entirely without fossil fuels and can ideally extract from the residual materials involved in a sufficiently large amount of thermal energy and electricity for running the entire brewing operation. Given the production processes and methods for energy recovery currently being used, this has so far not been possible throughout. So Krones set out on a quest for ideas and concepts covering both sides of the energy utilisation balance: the brewing process on the one hand, energy provision on the other. A classical brewing process including filling and packaging, appropriately documented with energy and mass flows, served as the reference point here.

Current energy consumption values

For its Brewery of the Future development project, Krones started by designing a brewery in line with the current state of the art. In a next step, the brewing and filling process was simulated in a program over a period of twelve months, with the data involved being recorded hour by hour, thus enabling load profiles and consumption figures to be accurately determined.


   Model brewery serving as the basis for comparison

  The brewery serving as the basis for comparison was dimensioned as follows:

  Annual capacity (sales-quality beer)                     2.6 million hectolitres

  Working days in the brewing operation                6/3 shifts

  Working days in the filling operation                   5/3 shifts

  Brew size cold                                                       500 hectolitres

  Brews per day                                                        12

  Pitched original gravity                                         17 degrees Plato

  Original gravity for sales-quality beer                  11 degrees Plato

  Type 1 infusion process                                        Share of 50 per cent

  Type 2 decoction process                                      Share of 50 per cent

  Total evaporation                                                   4 per cent

  Duration of main fermentation                             5 days

  Fermentation temperature                                     14 degrees Celsius

  Duration of storage                                                10 days

  Storage temperature                                               -1 degree Celsius


  Constituent parts of the brewhouse:

  •   A wet mill (40 tons per hour)

  •  Two ShakesBeer mash kettles as mash tun and wort copper

  •   A Pegasus lauter tun

  •   A Stromboli wort boiling system

  •   An energy storage system with vapour condenser and lautered-wort heater

  •   A whirlpool

  •   A single-stage wort cooler with iced water as refrigerant


  Constituent parts of the cellar:

  •  A propagation tank

  •  Three yeast storage tanks

  •  31 fermentation and storage tanks, each with a net capacity of 3,000 hectolitres

  •  A TFS pre-coating filter

  •   Six bright-beer tanks, each with a net capacity of 1,800 hectolitres


  Three line concepts for beer filling:

  For the fields of filling and packaging, different line concepts were chosen in the standard      variant, thus synergising Krones’ accumulated expertise in three lines, which constitute a  firm foundation for all other steps in the process of investigating the Brewery of the Future.

  Line 1: returnable-glass line

  Line rating: up to 60,000 bottles an hour (with reference to the 0.355-litre returnable bottle)

  Line 2: combined line for non-returnable and returnable glass

  Line rating: up to 60,000 bottles an hour (with reference to the 0.355-litre non-  returnable/returnable bottle); the line handles both non-returnable and returnable glass  bottles, thus enabling the brewery to respond to varying customer requirements

  Line 3: canning line

  Line rating: up to 75,000 cans an hour (with reference to the 0.355-litre can)



  Consumption figures

  The simulation revealed the following consumption figures, reflecting the current state of  the art:

  Thermal energy (contains 30% losses due to steam boiler and condensate system)

      sales-quality beer           14.5 kilowatt hours per hectolitre

      unblended beer              21 kilowatt hours per hectolitre

   Electricity (with a coefficient of performance [COP] of 3.0 in the 

     sales-quality beer           5.6 kilowatt hours per hectolitre

     unblended beer               8.1 kilowatt hours per hectolitre

   Water consumption 

     sales-quality beer           2.5 hectolitres per hectolitre

     unblended beer               3.5 hectolitres per hectolitre

   CO2 consumption

      sales-quality beer           14.7 kilograms per hectolitre

     unblended beer               21.5 kilograms per hectolitre

   Compressed-air consumption

    sales-quality beer           1.2 standard cubic metres per hectolitre

    unblended beer               1.7 standard cubic metres per hectolitre



New line concept

On the basis of these data, a new line concept is formulated for the same quantity of sales-quality beer, in which

•            consumption figures are reduced by virtue of new and optimised technologies and systems,

•            the residual materials encountered are used for generating energy, and

•            load peaks are avoided by dimensioning the lines and systems concerned appropriately, and putting in place fit-for-purpose process-management routines.

The unequivocal goal: to make sure that the discrepancy currently encountered between the amount of energy needed and the quantity provided grows progressively smaller. It is possible that in an idealised model the developers will initially succeed in theoretically closing the gap completely only by integrating alternative forms of energy, like solar energy or wind power. Note that the emphasis here is on “theoretically”.

But one thing is beyond any doubt for Krones: a concept based solely on fluctuating or redundant energy provision is inherently flawed: when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining, energy still has to be supplied by traditional means. In summer, or in warm regions, it is not possible to load an ice reservoir. This means the concept should as far as possible try to do without any components that depend on the weather or the brewery’s location.

Krones’ Brewery of the Future development project is based on a batch brewhouse, rendering it easier to compensate for fluctuations in the raw materials used. Moreover, the ratio obtaining between thermal energy and electricity in a batch brewhouse is (quite unexpectedly) better suited for integrating a unit-type cogeneration plant.

Improvements with the Brewery of the Future include:

•            EquiTherm energy recovery system

•            cascaded energy storage tank at a low temperature level

•            innovative integration of a unit-type cogeneration plant

•            new filling concept at a higher temperature level

•            energetically recoverable filtering aid (viscose)

•            improved concepts for media supply

At the drinktec, Krones will be presenting verifiable facts and figures on the savings in thermal energy and electricity that are possible in the Brewery of the Future. Furthermore, an innovative unit-type cogeneration plant will also be unveiled, which in addition to excellent efficiency levels also scores well in terms of very high supply and return temperatures in the overall thermal balance. This enables its users to directly replace boiler performance while making money into the bargain. With these energy building blocks, Krones is getting significantly closer to the energy-self-sufficient brewery, and thus to truly sustainable beer production.


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