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Thread: Converting plate heat exchanger to pasteurizer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018

    Converting plate heat exchanger to pasteurizer

    I'm wondering if anyone has any experience using a plate heat exchanger as a pasteurizer? We have a little plate heat exchanger that's not in use and I was thinking to try convert it to steam pasteurizer. If anyone has any experience of using a plate heat exchanger as a pasteurizer I'd love to get some information from you on it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Richmond, VA.
    That is possible if you have it hooked up correctly and the correct temp and pressures. I had a old Safeway Dairy pasteurizer has a HX.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003

    Why not?

    Pasteurization is a function of time and temperature, so if designed correctly it should work. But I've operated several pasteurizers and can tell you first hand that it is not so easy. Depending on what you want, you can get good results. But if it's something with public health at risk, then it is a whole different story. Suggest datalogger and flow meter with recording function to prove positive results for your records. Most pasteurizers I've used are single pass shell and tube, not plate. But I've seen plate pasteurizers before.
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Chesterfield, UK
    Having worked with plenty of pasteurisers over the years, troubleshooting many and finding poor detailed design, I’d like to suggest that if you want to have a flash pasteuriser, then you go and buy one rather than try and make your own, so you have half a chance of pasteurising, rather than simply partially cooking the beer. I think you would do better to “sterile” filter your beer as it will probably affect the flavour and shelf life of the beer less.

    Beer pasteurisers are full of critical design features, and do not consist simply of a plate heat exchanger. Firstly, the quality of the beer has to be filtered and almost sterile to allow the beer to be treated with the minimum number of PUs. The big boys will be treating their beer with circa 15 PUs, but rely on having virtually beer, with no visible suspended solids in it, and an oxygen content of less than 100 ppb. To prevent gas breakout, which will help protect any residual yeast or bacteria from the effects of the heat, we used to run out pasteuriser plate packs at 15 to 16 bar at the inlet of the PHE, and then pass the beer through a holding coil which was designed for turbulent flow, and for a suitable holding time, let us say 25 seconds, before the beer passed back through the PHE. Any minor drop in pressure or temperature meant you couldn’t guarantee the beer was pasteurised, and any increase in residence time, oxygen, temperature or suspended solids (due to poor filtration) would adversely affect the beer flavour and potentially colour and shelf life. Oxygen is a particular problem. You would need to be able to control all these parameters accurately enough to be able to achieve your target, realistically for a smaller brewery product circa 25 PU, within a few PU.

    So, back to the initial point, for a small brewery I suggest “sterile” or near sterile filtration will be better for you beers (or other products) and far easier to control, and cheaper to buy and maintain. If you really must pasteurise, then make sure you near sterile the beers, and make sure you pasteuriser is designed to deal properly with the beer – and I’m afraid that realistically means buying in.

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