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Keeping brewery operations cool

17 May 2021

Thanks to a customised long-term hire, a Burton-on-Trent based brewery has fulfilled its cold storage needs and replaced ammonia-based refrigeration system with high efficiency, low GWP chillers. 

When a multinational brewery was looking for a partner that could answer its unique needs for cold storage within its Burton-on-Trent plant and replace the aging, ammonia-based process cooling system it contacted ICS Cool Energy which was able to deliver a bespoke, long-term hire solution that met all of its requirements. 

The brewery was looking for a way to install a flexible cold storage solution that would keep the kegs of beer and raw products cold and fresh within the craft beer pilot plant. It was necessary to maintain specific temperatures to guarantee product consistency, while coping with a high ambient temperature caused by the central location of the pilot plant within the manufacturing facility. ICS Cool Energy was able to customise a 20ft refrigerated container unit as part of its Cold Store hire solutions. 

Originally designed for global – often in high ambient temperatures – marine transport of temperature sensitive perishables, the Cold Store solution provides accurate and stable storage temperatures.  At the brewery, the unit’s temperature was set at down to -21°C to ensure the raw material and ingredients used in the brewery processes of the special craft beers were kept at the optimum conditions before use. Additionally, the portable Cold Store container – designed to be put on and off ships, gave the brewery the flexibility to move it around with the lift and shift as needed.

Replacing ammonia 
The brewery was also looking for a way to remove the ammonia (NH3) refrigerated chillers from its site. Further investments required to maintain the old system safe and operational exceeded the financial and safety benefits of installing a new and more efficient one. ICS Cool Energy was again able to provide a hire solution, that met its process cooling needs and combined safety, high efficiency and performance with low environmental impact.

Initially, the brewery was looking for localised chillers for every part of the brewing process.  After analysing the options, the ICS Cool Energy team offered a more efficient solution that mimicked the old ammonia system. ICS Cool Energy installed three large 1,4MW chillers in the same area where the ammonia was originally installed, which allowed it to tap the new chillers into the existing pipework and power infrastructure. The new chillers feature a variable volume index compressor and permanent magnet motor that allow the equipment to operate at the most appropriate pressure ratio and achieve outstanding part load efficiencies. 

For low environmental impact, the units feature ultra-low global warming potential (GWP) R-1234ze refrigerant, which in chillers is said to be able to outperform ammonia by 25% according to the energy efficiency ratio (EER) analysis R-1234ze is mildly flammable and non-corrosive in comparison to ammonia, which is toxic and can pose a serious risk to human health and food and beverage operations. 

In the brewing industry, achieving a high-quality product consistency relies on having control of your process temperatures. This project demonstrates how bespoke cooling demands our dedicated hire team fulfilled the customer’s unique demand for cold storage can be addressed while also ensuring a safer and environmentally friendly process cooling solution.

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