The subsidiary of SAB Miller is using the light technology instead of heat to purify the dextrose sugar syrup solutions used to make its fruit alcohol brands at its Chamdor plant in Johannesburg
According to SurePure, the company behind the technology, SAB has achieved energy savings of 82 per cent compared to pasteurisation that used up high levels of energy heating up then cooling down solutions.
SAB is now looking at the possibility of using the UVC system from SurePure to reduce or replace the pasteurisation and sterile filtration of beer itself.
Parent company SAB Miller is also considering rolling out the technology at plants outside South Africa.
A spokesperson for SurePure said: “They will need to share their learnings internally, and then evaluate the benefits of installation or retro-fitting the technology on a site-by-site basis.”
UVC systems have been used for some time by brewers for water purification but SurePure claims that SAB is the first to use light for its brewing process.
Explaining why UV technology is only now spreading to the brewing process, the SurePure spokesperson told this publication: “Brewing is a tradition-driven, cautious industry but the rising costs of energy and water have forced brewers to re-evaluate their processes.”
Suitable for cloudy liquids
A technical barrier has also stood in the way of the roll-out of UV sterilisation as traditionally it has been unable to purify cloudy or turbid liquids. SurePure claims its technology overcomes this hurdle.
SurePure worked SAB to adapt its technology to the needs of the brewer. Specifically, the turbulators at the Chamdor plant were modified to accommodate their higher CIP temperatures.
South Africa-based SurePure claims that its technology is of interest to most brewers and those involved in CSD production. Compared to pasteurisation, it claims the technology uses less energy and water, costs less to purchase and maintain, and takes up less floor space.