The UK’s most energy efficient brewery of its size opens doors to Microdat customers.
After months of anticipation Wye Valley Brewery has opened it’s doors and welcomed in Microdat clients and brewers from around the country to view their new two million pound brewhouse.
Designed, built and commissioned by Leeds based Microdat the new brewhouse includes state of the art technology that see’s the total eradication of steam usage making Wye Valley brewery one of the UK’s most energy efficient breweries of it’s size and the only one to boast a Termal Fluid Heater.
This is the first time Thermal Fluid has been used in brewing to boil wort and the results are already measurable.
The wort copper, external wort boiler, and thermal fluid heater were pre-assembled at the manufacturing facility in Leeds to save time during the installation on site and allow Wye Valley an opportunity to assess the performance of the new equipment. The trials were a complete success with the external wort boiler circulating the contents of the copper entirely by thermo-syphon, without the need for the casting pump.
Using thermal fluid to boil wort rather than the more traditional steam has multiple benefits over a steam fired external wort boiler:
• Temperature in the external wort boiler is easily and accurately controlled using a digital controller to set the temperature to the nearest 1°C. Temperature can therefore be tailored to the brewer’s requirements via temperature set point control. There is no need for pressure regulation or controlling of the mass flow of steam;
• The boil rate is controlled via brewhouse control software, ensuring the thermo-syphon is maintained at the same level throughout the boil;
• Thermal fluid is more efficient than steam operation with efficiencies in excess of 85% for the system supplied to Wye Valley. Efficiency for the same process using steam is in the range of 60 to 70%, however this figure does not take into account further heat losses or leaks when transporting steam throughout the brewhouse.
• Using thermal fluid in the external wort boiler means that there is no need for make-up water to compensate for hot-well/flash steam losses. Treatment chemicals are not required for the thermal fluid system further reducing operating costs over those of a steam heated system
• The thermal fluid system does not run at pressure meaning that the external wort boiler does not need to be rated as a pressure vessel
• The system is quicker to start up than a conventional steam system, as the inventory of fluid in the system is low, and the burner is thermally efficient. Due to the short start-up time, the thermal fluid heater can be shut down between brews, further reducing energy demand on site.
Saleable beer was produced from the very first commissioning brew on this system in July 2013 with overall energy efficiencies well exceeding the 20% design specification.
Commenting on the new brewhouse Wye Valley, Operations Director, Jimmy Swan said “It was important for us to keep to the traditional brewing methods that make our beers so distinctive, from a brewing perspective nothing has changed but the new brewhouse is cutting edge in terms of efficiencies and energy and our business has, and will see, the benefits of our investment for years to come. We are proudly British and proud to say our brewery and the equipment is made and engineered in the UK – it has made a difference us to be able to view machines build in Microdat’s Leeds factory and also to have them on close hand throughout the project.”