View Full Version : brewery cooling options

11-26-2007, 02:56 PM
I'm in the very early stages of planning a new pub-sized brewery. This project includes constructing a brand-new building. Our goal is to be as "green" as is financially realistic. Does anyone have any creative ideas about better ways to handle our normal brewery cooling needs: jacketed fermenters and brite tanks, cold-liquor, walk-in cooler and air conditioning for the tap room? Would it be advantageous to use a single glycol chilling unit to perform all of these tasks? This brewery will be part of a larger project which might include a ground source heat pump to heat the complex so it would be simpler to recapture heat from refrigeration if it were all being produced in a central unit. Any ideas are welcome. I'm also interested in information about currently operating small breweries that are using or developing innovative energy and money saving systems. I've read a lot about what New Belgium and Sierra Nevada have done; I'm interested more in things that would be practical for small brewers.

Thank you and Cheers!

11-26-2007, 04:12 PM
You could definitely utilize a single glycol chiller to provide the cooling for the entire brewery- the big issue this raises is having all your eggs in one basket and this is why I always suggest going with a chiller system with multiple stages that are circuited independently, meaning if you have a small refrigerant leak in your system you will never lose all your cooling capacity. I'd find an engineer familiar with these types of systems or a top notch contractor to help you through this process.

Some of the benefits are the elimination of refrigeration lines inside the brewery and possibly some installation savings, but you likely won't have a significant energy savings versus having a dedicated glycol chiller for fermenter/brite beer tanks cooling and separate standard direct expansion systems for your room and walk in cooling.

I have been involved with projects that have incorporated ground source heat pumps for building heat. Their engineers studied tying in the chiller system, but after studying they simply opted to go with a standard air cooled chiller system that operated independent of their heat pump and building heating and AC system. I'd be interested to be involved in such a project though.

Here are a few examples of add-ons and features we supply:
1) Variable Frequency Drives on the glycol pumps- enables consistent flow through your system and during low load times your pump motor electrical draw reduces saving electricity. We have also installed VFD’s on compressors and condenser fan motors, but on smaller systems (20 HP and under) this isn’t too feasible.
2) Ambient Glycol Coils- in cold climates where for much of the year the ambient falls below your glycol return temperature we have utilized glycol coils (similar to those used in walk in coolers). When the outside air temperature falls below the return glycol temperature, we simply divert the glycol through these coils and use the cold outside air to precool.
3) Utilizing heat recovery coils to use the heat from the High Temperature discharge refrigerant to preheat hot water, heat rooms, or even heat product. You can recover up to 50% of the cooling capacity of your compressor, so if you have a compressor with a cooling capacity of 100,000 BTU/HR, you can recover up to 50,000 BTU/HR. It is very significant, the key is having a use for this recovered heat and that you also will only have a heating source when there is a cooling duty.
4) Standard on all of our larger systems (20 HP and larger) is a liquid subcooling circuit in the air cooled condenser. This circuit uses the ambient air to sub-cool the liquid refrigerant to within 3-4 F of ambient temperature- this increases the efficiency of the system.
5) Well insulated piping system, either a pre-insulated piping system or utilizing an “armaflex” type insulation to prevent heat loss and condensation.

You hit the nail on the head when you stated your goal to be "green as is financially realistic", there are numerous ways to accomplish, but the best way simply comes down to a well designed system. If you want to send me some additional information on your project such as; number of Fermenters and Brite tanks and sizes, walk in cooler size, estimated AC load in tap room, etc. I would be happy to put a quick quote together for a basic system with several adders and features (with individual adder costs) that you could consider.

Good luck,

Jim VanderGiessen Jr
Pro Refrigeration

11-28-2007, 05:32 AM
The Trumer Brewery in western Austria has built a new facility and, among other things, uses the heat from both fermentation and lagering to heat the building and the hot water for the building. There is an article about the brewery in Brauwelt International.

11-28-2007, 11:03 AM
Can you help explain how to plumb the hot refrigerant to hot water tanks or for other heating uses? It seems crazy to just blow this "waste" heat into the atmosphere, then pay to heat your water separately. I recover this heat to my HLT just by running the copper refrigerant tubing from the compressor into the HLT and back to the condenser. It only cost the price of the roll of tubing and the additional refrigerant. Depending on season, I gain 10 to 30 F this way, more if I would add a circulator in the tank. I trust you could come up with more efficient methods.

11-28-2007, 03:17 PM
I love the ingenuity! Unfortunately I think you might be breaking some rules if you are running the copper refrigerant line directly into potable water- unless you're wrapping the copper lines around the outside of the HLT. All of the Heat Exchangers that we provide for heating potable water are "vented", which means there is a vented area separating the refrigerant and the potable water to prevent cross contamination if one side should develop a leak.

What we typically do is provide a vented heat exchanger with a small circulation pump connected to a storage tank (or I suppose the HLT). Many times this storage tank then feeds into the electric or tankless water heaters. Each time the compressor comes on, the circulation pump will circulate the water from the tank and through the heat exchanger. A thermostat on the tank will shut the pump off when the tank temperature reaches setpoint. There is a bit more involved such as relief valves and ways of piping to insure you don't trap refrigerant oil etc, but that is basically it.

If you want to email me your compressor model number or the HP, I'd be happy to size up a reclaim coil for your system.

I have a spec sheet on the Doucette heat exchangers that we offer (and likely available locally too), unfortunately the file size is too large (220 kb) to attach to this message. They are very efficient and one of the only vented heat exchangers that are "cleanable" Please email me and I will be happy to forward to you. There is a flow illustration included too.



11-11-2015, 06:47 AM
We're about to break ground for a new building to house a 15Bbl brewhouse. 15Bbl fermentation and brites with room for expansion. We're upsizing our steam and glycol to allow expansion for double batching. We are production only with a small retail component, no tap room. 350 sq ft cold room.

I'd love to connect with a Canadian refrigeration specialist or any of the pro who commented on this thread. Going to start researching some of the items outlined here.