Improve brewery profitability AND sustainability with innovative bottom-feed centrifuge technology


Beer consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental and economic impact of businesses on the local and global community. Sustainability can be a big differentiator that sets you apart in an increasingly crowded market, and at the same time, it can make you more profitable.

Why not partner with technology providers committed to delivering equipment designed and optimized for durability, performance and quality?

Reduce losses and improve yields

One immediate way to improve sustainability is to address inefficiencies in the brewing process. Beer that goes down the drain is a waste of ingredients, labor, time and utilities, as well as lost sales revenue. Reducing inefficiencies by putting more beer in the keg, bottle or can means less waste and more profit!

The biggest source of brewery waste is tank bottom emptying to drain post-fermentation. Modern styles like IPAs, fruit acids, flavored stouts, etc. include adding large amounts of solids to the fermenter. These solids impart desirable aromas and flavors, but also absorb beer and are difficult to process without a separation / filtration step.

Using a centrifuge to separate solids from beer is the fastest way to increase yields and reduce losses. A centrifuge uses centrifugal force to immediately separate solids from liquid, and many modern centrifuge technologies are available for brewery applications specifically designed to maximize yield and have minimal impact on beer quality. More on that later.

Reduce demand for wastewater treatment

By collecting the beer and not putting it into the sewer, it is also not treated in a downstream treatment plant. However, it’s not just the beer you’re draining, it’s also all that spent yeast, hops, protein, and other solids that need to be processed and transported out of the sewage plant.

When using a centrifuge, the solids ejected from the machine can be diverted and sent to a farm as animal feed; be applied as a fertilizer; or otherwise diverted from downstream wastewater treatment which consumes additional resources, time and utilities. This impact can be significant over time and the beneficial use of the by-products is lost when they are sent to the wastewater treatment plant.

Alfa Laval has extensive experience with processes and equipment in wastewater treatment. This gives us a unique perspective on the impact of breweries on these facilities. We use this knowledge to address inefficiencies upstream and minimize waste sent for municipal treatment.

Improved production capacity

Historically, to obtain solids like yeast, hops, etc. of the beer, you wait for the fermentation to finish, lower the glycol, and wait for time, temperature and gravity to settle on the beer solids. Even after the beer has reached the final temperature, you can still wait days so that additional solids fall from the suspension.

With a juicer, once you’ve determined the beer is ready, you don’t have to wait for additional settling time. While gravity gives 1 G of force to the particles in your beer, a centrifuge can transmit 5,000 to 10,000 G in an instant.

This means you can run your tanks faster and naturally increase your production capacity (by 20% in some cases) without adding additional tanks. You don’t need to run your glycol as much, which uses less electricity or uses your glycol refrigeration system more efficiently.

Improve yields without compromising quality

Manufacturers may say their separator or centrifuge is “airtight,” but not all centrifuges are created equal. Product quality is important to all of us, so it is important to know how the different types of airtight designs affect the uptake of dissolved oxygen, the uptake of temperature, and the retention of volatile oils, aromatics and flavors. Technological differences can also have a significant impact on the yield, and therefore the impact on the sustainability of your process.

Older top-feed hydro-hermetic centrifuges are still very popular in brewery applications, but their design dates back to the mid-20th century and features a water seal. To achieve lower dissolved oxygen uptake, this technology generally requires deaerated water and / or carbon dioxide. Hydro-hermetic machines are not 100% hermetic as they allow oxygen to enter the bowl, normally with each discharge.

Alfa Laval’s innovative bottom-feed design does not allow oxygen to enter the bowl at all – it is completely sealed. When filled with liquid, bottom feed machines are fully sealed and do not suffer from high dissolved oxygen peaks during discharges like traditional top feed hydro-hermetic technologies.

Besides the lack of oxygen uptake, bottom feed machines also offer many other important quality considerations that affect beer quality and customer experience.

Better preserve aromas and flavors

As a brewer, you spend a lot of time, money and effort in imparting delicate hop aromas and flavors to your beer. Shouldn’t you be doing all you can to preserve these sensitive compounds?

With a fully hermetic bottom feed machine, these aromatics have no room to disappear and are less affected by oxygen uptake, temperature uptake and shear stress compared to older hydro-hermetic machines at the bottom. top feed.

Lower temperature pickup due to lower friction

Older top-feed hydro-hermetic machines have internal fixed peeling discs that naturally generate friction when beer is pushed out of the juicer. This friction converts mechanical energy into thermal energy and causes the temperature of your beer to rise. High temperature pickup in top feed hydro-hermetic machines is especially evident in low flow or high solids applications like dry hopped beers or heavy beers.

Fully sealed bottom feed machines, such as those produced by Alfa Laval, have an outlet on the top of the machine at the center of rotation. The exit through the center of rotation and with a wheel that turns with the bowl reduces mechanical energy and therefore friction. Bottom-feed machines offer a lower temperature take – over the entire flow range – to better preserve the quality of your beer. This means a consistent and tasty product with less rejects due to compromised quality.

Reduced energy consumption

Another great benefit of reducing friction over durability is that it also reduces energy consumption, as it takes more energy to push the beer through a fixed peeling disc (kinetic energy that is transformed in thermal energy of friction).

Bottom-feed machines offer an average of 30% less power consumption than traditional top-feed machines (similar in size) by exiting through a rotating wheel at the center of rotation.

Energy consumption savings could be reduced by up to 70% in a fully sealed bottom-feed design, when combined with Alfa Laval’s latest centrifuge innovation – eMotion â„¢.

Partnership with Alfa Laval

No matter who you partner with, Alfa Laval is committed to helping your brewery meet your sustainability goals, as well as exceed your profitability goals. As a company rooted in the Nordic culture of environmental responsibility, finding sustainable and innovative solutions for our customers is a fundamental value in all the markets served and the technologies offered.

In the brewery, our innovative bottom-feed centrifuges uniquely offer minimal impact on beer quality while simultaneously promoting sustainability goals such as reducing product waste, improving optimization and efficiency of processes and reduction of consumption of utilities.

In addition to offering bottom-feed disc centrifuges in Brewery Cold Block applications, Alfa Laval also offers decanter centrifuges for treating whirlpool bottoms to reduce losses, improve efficiency and reduce drinking fresh water while cleaning the hot tub. They also offer a wide range of processing equipment designed to optimize many brewing operations.

Find out how you can improve the profitability of your brewery while improving the sustainability of the process by talking to our experts. You can find them here:

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