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How to improve water efficiency, waste reduction and energy efficiency in the brewing and soft drinks sectors

Frank Wayman

30 Jul 18

This is the fourth blog post by Dr Frank Wayman PHD taken from his recent e-book - How will the EU Industrial Emissions Directive impact the Brewing and Drinks? (Read the first, second and third here). In this post Frank explores how BAT (Best Available Technique) technology can be used to improve water, waste and energy efficiency in the brewing and soft drinks sectors.

When we look specifically at the brewing and soft drinks sectors, there are a number of opportunities that can be used to improve their water efficiency and reduce waste emissions, as well as energy usage to achieve BAT-AELs, here we present some examples.


How to improve water efficiency in brewing

There are some fairly obvious examples of how to improve water efficiency in brewing. These vary from reusing hot water from wort cooling processes, reusing waste water from the lauter tun and the reuse of bottle pasteurising water. Cross-flow filtration is also a more water efficient technique than direct filtration.

At the end of mash separation, the residual worts in the lauter tun (which are high in TSS, lipids and polyphenols) are generally considered unacceptable for process use and are consequently discharged as effluent. This loss is significant in terms of water, energy and extract.

Effluent from the lauter tun is a significant contributor to a brewery’s total effluent, with a high pollutant load and volume. Because of the way that the brewers’ grains are separated from the wort, attempts to reduce the volume tend to increase the levels of fine solids.

The lauter tun at a UK brewery contributed approximately 20 % of the total effluent load. To enable the reuse of the weak wort from the lauter tun as process water for mashing, the removal of the very fine colloidal size particles from the wort is necessary. This can be achieved by centrifugation or filtration.

The reuse of water and separation of solids reduced the cost of treating the effluent from the lauter tun by 12-15%, and the payback on the equipment required was less than two years. 

How to improve water efficiency, waste reduction and energy efficiency

How to improve waste reduction in brewing

Techniques such as the reuse of yeast after fermentation, the recovery and reuse of natural filter material and the use of brewery surplus yeast, rest beer and soft drinks for bioethanol feedstock are no longer just best practice, they are required for compliance.

In addition to this there are BAT for the reduction of dust emissions from the brewing process and techniques to reduce odour, as well as for carbon dioxide recovery and purification.


How to improve energy efficiency in brewing

Technology examples which could be used to achieve energy efficiencies are:

  • Partially un-malted barley brewing
  • Double malt kilning
  • Mash infusion process
  • Mashing-in at higher temperatures
  • Heat recovery from wort kettle vapour
  • Increase of the degree of high-gravity brewing (HGB)
  • Integrated energy

While some of these may seem simple enough, others are likely to cause consternation among brewers. The idea of un-malted barley brewing, for example, or high gravity brewing followed by dilution are not traditional practices and customer acceptance of flavour and appearance are key to success in this sector.

How to improve water efficiency, waste reduction and energy efficiency

How to improve energy efficiency in soft drinks manufacture 

Normally two pasteurisers are used in the manufacture of beverages with pulp, one for liquid and one for the slurry containing particles or fibres (dual-line solution). The single line solution saves one pasteuriser (the slurry pasteuriser).

In the single-line solution, the particles are dosed in-line in the middle of the main pasteuriser and the whole volume is pasteurised once. Due to loss reductions, the result is that the single-line solution consumes 25% less heating and cooling energy.


You can read more about how to improve efficiency and reduce waste in the brewing and drinks sector by downloading the complete e-book.


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