Depending on the brewing process in operation, Krones claims the new EquiTherm system is able to produce primary energy savings of 20 per cent or more.
The system hones in on wort production where high levels of thermal energy are required.
Using a specially designed wort cooler and a mash tun called ShakesBeer EcoPlus, the system recovers heat from the wort cooler and uses it to heat the mash.
Hot service water, heated to 95oC, is stored in an energy storage tank until a mashing process starts, and is then used to heat the mash in the mash tun.
Peter Gattermeyer from Krones, said: “What is new about this is that the mash tun itself is now completely decoupled from the primary energy supply.”
This is possible, in a large part, because the ShakesBeer EcoPlus mash tun can obtain sufficient heating rates with low temperatures of heated water (70-95oC). Krones said normally mash tuns need 120oC steam to achieve sufficient heating rates.
The German beverage engineering company said the ShakesBeer EcoPlus is different because of its pillow plates and special heat-surface flow pattern.
Krones claims that the lower heat impact during mashing leads to a better taste stability in the final beer.
Energy savings in action
And then there is a big savings potential from reduced energy consumption. Krones said the Bergquell Brewery in Lobau, which has a two-year old brewhouse, has reduced its primary energy consumption by 32 per cent after installing the EquiTherm system.
With an output of 200,000 hectolitres, this translates into a saving of about 500,000 kilowatt-hours of primary energy a year.
Gattermeyer estimates that the EquiTherm system offers amortisation rates of between 3 to 5 years when this saving is considered alongside others like lower water use, savings in cleaning and lower carbon footprint.
The system is suitable for all brewery sizes so long as the brewhouse is running for minimum of 3-4 days per week with more than 3 brews a day. The more brews there are a week, the lower the heat loss is in the energy storage tank compared to the produced wort amount.