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Environmentally 'green' beer: Munich brewing engineers research energy savings
Date:9/8/2009

A cool, freshly drawn beer for many a person this is the greatest of pleasures. But, in fact, a bad conscience should haunt us when we drink beer as it is among the most energy-intensive foodstuffs during production. Brewing engineers from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) are working hard to improve the energy balance of the amber beverage. They are looking into a new process combination that would allow energy savings of up to 20% during brewing. The Weihenstephan scientists will be exhibiting the heart of their energy-saving idea at the drinktec trade fair in Munich (14 19 September).

For over one hundred years one fundamental technical precept has applied to all breweries: You can't brew beer without a kettle. Only a mighty boil kettle is capable of generating the temperatures of 110 to 160 degrees centigrade required to boil down "crude beer," the so-called wort. This process consumes substantial amounts of energy: Almost half of the overall energy consumption of a classical brewery 45 percent, to be exact goes into wort processing. That is why engineers have been working on solutions to reduce heat and electricity consumption in brewing for years now.

One approach was to use combined heat and power (CHP) stations, which are highly energy efficient and environmentally friendly due their cogeneration of power and heat. This technology, however, has proven to be unsuitable for breweries: CHP stations do indeed generate heat in addition to power, but only achieve temperatures up 90 degrees centigrade. Boiling down wort requires at least 110 degrees centigrade. To remedy this deficit, engineers from the Institute for Resource and Energy Technology at the TU Muenchen have been following a hot trail since August 2008: They have combined the CHP station with a so-called "zeolite storage system."

Such storage systems work thermo-chemically with zeolite spheres 2-3 mm in diameter. These porous pellets are made of silicat
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Contact: Patrick Regan
regan@zv.tum.de
49-892-892-2743
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Source:Eurekalert  

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