Brewer uses solar power to cut oil use

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Krones, Energy

A brewer in Germany is in the process of installing solar panels
that could cut its oil consumption by 60 per cent.

Krones said the project with the privately-owned Hofmühl Brewery in Eichstätt would mark the first installation of its solar thermics system. The system is due to being operating early in 2008, Krones stated. The installation is occurring after what the company called the completition of "protracted planning permission procedures". In the first stage, Krones along with other companies are installing a solar thermics system with a collector area of 1,000 sq. m., which is scheduled to go into operation early in 2008. The brewer than plans to increase the area to 3,000 sq. m. "In all, the solar-thermic energy is set to replace about 60 per cent of the heating oil hitherto required for generating heat,"​ Krones claimed. Krones is responsible for all engineering work, the process control system and the supply of the collectors. The project is being subsidised by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The 1,000-m2 collector field at the facility in Eichstätt is able to produce around 500,000 kWh of heat a year, Krones stated. The solar-generated quantity of thermal energy will create annual savings equivalent to about 55,000 litres of heating oil. At the same time CO2 emissions at the Hofmühl Brewery will be reduced by around 150 tonnes a year compared to oil-fired heating, Krones claimed. Krones solar thermics system uses CPC vacuum-tube collectors, which heat up the process water directly to at least 130°C, and achieve an output per unit area about twice as high as the types customarily used in residential construction. "Together with holistically conceived energy optimisation measures, this creates the system efficiency required for operating a brewery with regenerative energies for technologically enhanced cost-efficiency,"​ the company stated. The brewery can use the solar heat to power the mash and wort boiling processes, for example, and to supply hot water to the bottle washer, the company stated. Other potential applications include generating boiler feedwater, heating buildings, for cleaning-in-place or for the flash pasteuriser and the crate washer. The heat consumers involved are integrated into the process water circuit of the solar thermics system using cascading modules, Krones stated. "After the initial investment, these solar thermics systems keep energy costs to a consistent and thus accurately calculable level, with concomitant long-term benefits for breweries, in particular, as fixed-location enterprises,"​ Krones stated. "Other advantages include options for governmental subsidies, reduced environmental costs, and corporate image enhancement in a context that is becoming progressively more influential in swaying consumer's purchasing decisions." ​ Due to the special location of the privately owned Hofmühl Brewery, the planning permission procedures took about two years, Krones stated.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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