Independent, brewery-responsive, efficacious: energy consultancy for breweries

Some of the brewhouses so far optimised by Krones need less than four kilowatt-hours of thermal energy per hectolitre of cold wort. Alexander Lenz, Team Manager Consulting Process Technology, explains how this is possible:

Mister Lenz, what do you mean by the term “energy consultancy”?

Our energy consultant check the existing systems and processes used in the brewing operations, and uncover any weak points as far as energy consumption is concerned. This forms the basis for developing a meaningful energy analysis, supplemented by practicable, specific solutions for profitably upgrading the brewery’s energy performance.

Is it actually possible to save any more energy in the brewing process?

Brewing is an inherently energy-intensive process. However, a clear distinction must be drawn between high and excessively high energy requirements. Long decades of experience in the brewing industry all over the world have shown: well-nigh every brewing process conceals huge savings potentials just waiting to be discovered Energy consultancy from Krones utilises a systematic, fit-for-purpose approach to render these latent reserves effectively usable.

Alexander Lenz

Alexander Lenz

What exactly does Krones’ energy consultancy concept involve?

Krones’ energy consultancy model rests on the following four cornerstones: savings, recovery, re-use, and deployment of alternatives. Savings can be achieved, for example, by halving evaporation levels, by reducing CIP times, by using short pipe paths or high gravity. There are recovery options for heat by means of a vapour condenser or condensate cooler, for caustic by means of a Parsifal filter, for water with a batch tank, or by utilising the EquiTherm energy recirculation system. What can be re-used, for instance, is the weak wort for mashing, batch water for pre-rinsing, treated water as service water, or caustic from the Parsifal filter for the bottle washer. As far as alternatives are concerned, there are the following obvious candidates: using wastewater and residual materials for biogas production so as to generate electricity and heat.

What specific advantages materialise for the breweries?

The yield of state-of-the-art brewhouse equipment, at 98 to 99 per cent, is very close to what is technically feasible. Steadily rising prices for fossil fuels mean that investments channelled into reducing energy consumption are an increasingly rewarding option. In this case, energy optimisation measures are essential for more efficiently streamlined use of thermal energy, for revealing improvement potentials, and for mapping out individual savings options. To achieve all this, the brewhouse operators must acquire and communicate the relevant consumption figures, thus helping the Krones team to identify any hidden energy-gobblers and to draw up brewery-specific proposals for optimisation. As an additional benefit, this also facilitates decision-making in regard to future modifications and efficient deployment of new investments.  The results obtained from an energy consultancy process can likewise be used as an aid for intra-company cost accounting. And energy savings as such will help to progress resource-economy.