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    Breweries produce beer through processes that include supplementary uses of boilers, pumps, refrigeration, heat exchangers, and air compressors. These processes include mashing, lautering, boiling, fermenting, filtering, and packaging. 

    A U.S. EPA report outlined the relative uses and sources of energy consumption in the brewery sector:

    • Motors and Pumps- 40%
    • Refrigeration- 32%
    • HVAC- 7%
    • Lighting- 7%
    • Compressors- 6%
    • Boiler/hot water/steam generation- 2%
    • Other- 6%

    Common Opportunities

    Below are listed common energy saving opportunities for breweries. For larger industrial brewery facilities or for other potential energy savings measures such as lighting, see the attached industrial walkthrough checklist at the bottom of the page.

    Improve Current Pump System

    As noted above, pumps can be a large energy user of any brewery facility. Typically, breweries operate in a batch process. Facilities can either have permanent pumps in place between processes, or have mobile pumps that can be used to pump where there is a demand. Many facilities will have a combination of both.

    Opportunity: Replace throttle control on pump with on-off control.

    Identify: Are the pumps being throttled in order to control the flow rate when used? This can be identified by asking facility personnel. 

    Savings: Restricting a pumps flow is a commonly used inefficient control method. Work required to deliver the reduced flow is greater than would otherwise be required. Replacing with on-off control will allow the pump to be operated at its optimum efficiency until the tank that it is servicing is filled. Electrical savings come from the increased mechanical efficiency of the pump.


    Opportunity: Replace current pump control method with VFD control.

    Identify: Do pumps currently have VFD's installed? Obtain operating parameters and pump curves from facility personnel to establish whether on-off controls or VFD controls are better suited to operation

    Savings VFD allow pumps to operate at the best efficiency for the given operating needs of the facility instead of having to set one operating set-point.


    Opportunity: Replace pump with a more energy efficient model.

    Identify: Is the pump oversized for the operation conditions of flow (i.e. flow rate and pressure)? Ask if system conditions have changed since the initial selection of the pump. Obtain the pump specifications (i.e. pump curve) from facility personnel or retrieve later using model data.

    Savings: Using a more efficient pump will increase electrical energy savings.

    See: http://eeref.engr.oregonstate.edu/Opportunity_Templates/Efficient_Pumping

    See: http://eeref.engr.oregonstate.edu/Opportunity_Templates/Pump_Efficiency_Analysis_Tool_(PEAT)


    Improve Refrigeration System

    Breweries use jacketed tanks to cool down the beer during the fermentation process to a specific temperature in order to maintain enzymatic activity of the yeast cells and increase brewing efficiency. Either industrial refrigeration systems or packaged chiller units are used to achieve this. The most common medium that is cooled for jacketed tanks is glycol. 

    To see a list of refrigeration savings opportunities in industrial systems, view the industrial walkthrough checklist PFD at the bottom of this page. While refrigeration systems are not exclusive to breweries, non-industrialized breweries typically use packaged chillers. These chillers can have modifications made to them that increase the efficiency of these units and how they operate. 

    Opportunity: Add control schemes.

    Identify: How are the condensing fans and compressors controlled? This may be indicated by cut-in and cut-out controls located on the compressors. If there is a fan control, it will be located on the compressors or another place in the unit. If the fans are not controlled separately from the compressors, there may be opportunities to install a separate control unit. 

    Savings: Electrical energy savings will be obtained by only operating fans when a cooling load is demanded. This will have positive impacts on savings from reducing compressor lift. 


    Opportunity: Adjust current set-points.

    Identify: Based off the control schemes, what are the current compressor suction and discharge set-points? What are real time pressures of the compressor suction and discharge? If the suction is unnecessarily low or the discharge is above the minimum condensing temperature for that day there may be opportunites to reset these.

    SavingsElectrical energy savings arise from reducing lift across compressors.


    Opportunity: Pre-cool wort before fermentation.

    Identify: The wort boiler is a tank that boils the mixture known as wort (which comes out of the lauter tun). Does the facility cool down the previously boiled wort prior to being added to the fermentation tank? There may be opportunities to add an intermediate cooling step using water or a recycled cool medium. 

    Savings: Because the refrigeration system wouldn't be the only thing cooling down wort in this instance, electrical energy savings would arise directly from refrigeration system savings.

    See: http://eeref.engr.oregonstate.edu/Opportunity_Templates/Refrigeration_Discharge_Pressure

    See: http://eeref.engr.oregonstate.edu/Opportunity_Templates/Refrigeration_Suction_Pressure


    Heat Recovery 

    There are heat recovery opportunities in different places within a brewery. Evaluating these based on individual breweries will be different depending on the operation. However, there are opportunites in every brewery. The wort boiler (explained in refrigeration opportunities above) is a common place for heat recovery. Energy consumption is estimated at 44-46 kBTU/barrel for conventional systems. The boiler may be heated by resistance heating.

    Opportunity: Capture wort steam that is produced during wort boiling.

    Identify: Is there currently any capture system on the steam outlet of the wort boiler? This will be indicated by plumbing attached to the steam outlet of the wort boiler which will connect to either a condensing system or a heat exchanger.

    Savings: A heat exchanger may be used to pre-heat incoming wort or other process water (such as incoming boiler water). The heat from the vapor condensate can be used to produce hot water for cleaning or space heating.


    Opportunity: Install a condensate recovery system.

    Identify: Does the facility currently have a condensate recovery system? This will be indicated by hot lines leading to a condensate return tank. Does the facility currently have enough condensate production to implement this system? Discuss savings opportunities associated with these systems with facility personnel.

    Savings: Different types of savings are available based on how the condensate return is utilized (e.g. electricity or gas type).

    See: http://eeref.engr.oregonstate.edu/Opportunity_Templates/Heat_Exchanger

    See: http://eeref.engr.oregonstate.edu/Opportunity_Templates/Refrigeration_Suction_Pressure


    Insulate Hot Lines

    There are many hot lines that are run through any brewery facility. These can include steam lines, condensate return lines, condensate return tanks, and hot water lines. Making sure that these lines are properly insulated is a great energy savings opportunity. 

    Opportunity: Insulate hot lines in facility.

    Identify: Where are all the hot lines in the facility? Is there any current insulation? Is there a big difference between ambient temperatures and the temperature of the lines? Use a thermal imaging camera.

    Savings: If lines from the boiler are insulated, boiler fuel savings will occur. If lines from tanks that are electrically heated, electrical savings will occur.

    See: http://eeref.engr.oregonstate.edu/Opportunity_Templates/Insulation



    Worrell, E. Galitsky, C. Martin, N. Energy Efficiency Opportunities in the Brewery Industry. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 2002.     <http://repository.tamu.edu/bitstream...pdf?sequence=1

    Galitsky, C. Martin, N. Worrell, E. Lehman, B. Energy Efficiency Improvement and Cost Saving Opporunities for Breweries: An ENERGY     STAR Guide for Energy and Plant Managers. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. September, 2003.     <http://www.energystar.gov/ia/busines...LBNL-50934.pdf>

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