Optimizing brewing process heating energy management with modular on-demand boiler systems

Sustainability Session
Jason P Smith, Miura North America, Inc.

ABSTRACT: This presentation illustrates how emerging modular on-demand steam boiler technologies are well suited to address the energy and environmental challenges facing the North American brewing industry. Breweries, both startups and well established, face increasing challenges of minimizing the economic and environmental impacts of the brewing process on their production while achieving a consistent high quality brew. Boilers account for nearly half of industrial energy consumption and represent one of the most energy intensive systems involved in the brewing industry. While not always the most visible component of the brewing process, the utility side of brewing can represent an economic hurdle on the front-end via capital outlay and an energy management challenge during production due to process load variability as brewing, pasteurization, and CIP processes ramp up and down. Two key concepts—modularity and on-demand response—represent innovative strategies for both minimizing the initial capital investment tied to utility systems while optimizing boiler performance with enhanced energy management capability more precisely matched to process requirements. Modularity enables a startup brewery to minimize the up-front investment in its utility by purchasing only the boiler capacity needed with the flexibility to increase steam capacity with additional modules as production increases. On-demand response out of the utility enables the brewery to precisely match the boiler output to the process requirements at any point in time, eliminating significant energy losses associated with boiler part-load and perpetual idling operation during process lulls. In the same way that tank-less/instantaneous water heaters are enabling increased energy efficiency in the residential sector, compact modular on-demand boilers are poised to support the same kind of transformation in the industrial sector. Moreover, given the large amount of energy consumed and the sharp minute-to-minute variations in process steam demands in the brewing industry, on-demand steam generation can play a significant role in increasing energy efficiency while reducing a brewery’s carbon footprint.

Jason Smith has a background in architecture and engineering, with more than 15 years of experience with the design and construction of high-performance “green” buildings and more than 5 years of experience as a LEED Accredited Professional integrating sustainable design solutions into facilities that address energy efficiency and contribute to reducing their environmental impact. Jason is celebrating three years with Miura North America, directing energy and environmental initiatives with a focus on energy efficiency advocacy, education, and market transformation in the area of thermal energy systems. Jason currently chairs the Energy Efficiency Deployment Sub-committee of the Department of Energy’s ITP Steam Systems Best Practices Steering Committee and is an active member of the following organizations devoted to energy efficiency and sustainability: ESC, ACEEE, ASE, IDEA, APPA, ASHE, AEE, and USGBC.