Annual energy savings of £285,000 per year were achieved for a UK-based brewing company. CoolPlanet secured a follow-on contract with a different brewery from the same group, on the back of the results it achieved.
CoolPlanet was tasked with creating energy savings for a UK-based contract brewery.
CoolPlanet made a number of energy optimisation recommendations from its energy audit and then went on to complete the project over 9 months. This timeline was mainly due to one particular change, which involved laying more than 350 metres of stainless steel pipework through the factory, to re-configure and optimise the three existing refrigeration systems.
As each change was made to the equipment, the client could see the savings from the Measurement and Verification dashboard for the project. It was very reassuring for the customer. They could see savings milestones rolling past as each item was optimised.
CoolPlanet conducted an energy audit at the brewery and found three main systems in need of optimisation – heating, cooling and compressed air.
Refrigeration was identified as the largest opportunity, as refrigeration is a massive part of the energy spend in brewing. The brewery had 3 separate refrigeration systems and CoolPlanet re-configured them so the largest, most efficient system did the work of all three. Some 20% of their energy costs were saved in that one change alone.
The brewery had meters and sensors everywhere, but they weren’t using that data to tell them when something was wrong.
CoolPlanet connected to the brewery’s SCADA system and imported a number of years of historical data into CoolPlanetOS. This very quickly gave visibility of which systems weren’t operating at full performance. CoolPlanetOS unlocked a lot of data that the organisation already had, but it was too unwieldy for them to get at it.
CoolPlanet engineer Dave Goldberg, who is an expert in refrigeration, also visited the brewery. He found issues such as oil in the evaporators, air in the condensers, and compressor sequencing was not done to an optimal level. All these issues were addressed by the project and measures put in place to prevent further degradation.
There was a pasteuriser used for canning. It was operating inefficiently. It was wasting both heat (steam) and water. A focussed monitoring was deployed in CoolPlanetOS that estimated avoidable costs incurred by this equipment so it could be evaluated for a capital project.
CoolPlanet used a data driven analysis to determine which boiler was the most efficient. The brewery was using three large 1 tonne boilers to produce steam. We could tell that one boiler was 5-10% more efficient than the other two boilers. We changed sequencing so that this boiler produced the steam, and if that boiler needed any help, then the other boilers kicked in.
As part of general maintenance, you should check if steam traps are blocked and operating correctly. We did the maintenance on those traps and continued to monitor how well they were performing with the condensate return system. This monitoring also showed up a problem with the recovery of hot water (hot liquor) where insufficient capacity was leading to dumping of excess water. This incurred avoidable costs that not only included the cost of the water, but also heating it and effluent charges. The customer was able to accurately assess these costs using CoolPlanetOS and put in place measures to avoid them.
The plant has two main areas where cooling was performed - brewing and beer maturation. In the brewing area they had 2 refrigeration systems. One was a legacy system used for emergencies. It was end of life and needed to be closed down. Alongside that was a more modern fridge plant. It was running at 100% capacity but not very efficiently. It was taking most of the load for the brewing area. It was using far too much energy for what it was doing in the way of cooling.
At the other end of the brewery, they had a fridge plant that was 10 years old, but it was much more efficient. When it was put in it was oversized and was only running part loaded as a result. It was running at 50% capacity. We calculated that the maturation refrigeration plant could do the job of the whole brewery, and we could turn off the other two refrigeration plants.
The maturation refrigeration plant was 150 metres from the brewing area, which is why we had to create a bridge between the two areas. We put in glycol pipework, 10 metres above the ground, routed across the buildings to link the brewing and maturation areas. We brought cold glycol from the maturation area down to the brewing area and returned the hot side. This enabled the brewery to turn off the inefficient fridge system in the brewing area, but leave it as a backup system.
Ongoing monitoring was implemented in CoolPlanetOS. For example, our system noticed that energy usage nearly doubled during one week in August. The fridge plant was over 40% less efficient that week. We asked if any changes were made that week and were told an engineer replaced a valve. CoolPlanet engineer Dave Goldberg identified the valve was installed incorrectly and the system was using 70% more energy as a result. We were able to catch that issue and fix it within days.
CoolPlanet deployed new receivers and pipework on the Compressed Air system to isolate redundant equipment. We performed leak detection and fixing across the whole compressed air distribution system. We achieved a reduction in maintenance spend for the compressed air system.
CoolPlanet put in an automated valve which allowed them to shut down the kegging part of the factory when they weren’t using it. We also monitored a significant user of air that was manually controlled to avoid excess usage not required by the process.
By re-configuring their refrigeration system from 3 systems to 1 system, CoolPlanet saved the £5,480in average weekly savings.
Overall, £285,000 in annual energy savings was achieved. In terms of capital expenditure (CAPEX), the payback of the improvements made by CoolPlanet was 2.5 years.
We gave the Engineering Manager reassurances that CoolPlanetOS would monitor things going forward, and alert him to any issues. He would get a notification without having to hunt down the problem himself. Every morning the engineering team could have a meeting about what needed to be done that day, or what they might need to look at. Our task reports from CoolPlanetOS became a prioritisation schedule for plant maintenance.