Brewers turn to software in move to cut energy costs
their pasteurizers' consumption of water and steam, Sidel reported
The takeup, about 20 months after the company's Prince system was first installed at Heineken's brewery in Cagliari, Italy, indicates one of the tactics brewers are turning to in a bid to achieve cost savings and limit their CO2 emissions. Since Feburary 2006 about 50 of the systems have been installed on new machines or existing lines, most recently at brewing plants operated by Brauhaus in Frankfurt, Germany, by Damm in Spain and by Carlsberg in Italy, Sidel stated. Prince, which stands for 'Prediction In Control Equations', is designed to forecast the parameters for improving the quality and shelf life of pasteurised products, especially beer, while cutting its consumption of water and steam. During pasteurisation, an already bottled product travels through a tunnel. In the pasteurisation tunnel the contents are heated by water spray at various temperatures in different thermally controlled zones. During the process, each product must accumulate a certain number of pasteurisation units (PUs), each equivalent to a one-minute exposure of the product to a temperature of 60°C. Prince is designed to provides a means of accurately controlling and adjusting pasteurization units under a number of working conditions, such as any sequence of pasteuriser starts and stops, Sidel stated. "With Prince, the entire product undergoing pasteurisation accumulates at least the minimal number of PUs required and reaches and maintains for a pre-set time the range of temperatures required for pasteurisation without ever exceeding the allowed maximum of PUs," Sidel claimed. Pasteurisation control is based on the software predicting what the future situation will be. The prediction process eliminates unnecessary variations in spray temperature, Sidel claimed. The product is not heated more than necessary and undergoes a single phase of heating and a single phase of cooling, thus reducing water and steam consumption. "Instead of lowering the temperature of the spray when the product in a given zone exceeds the set pasteurisation threshold, Prince would automatically lower the temperature as soon as the prediction indicates that the product will accumulate sufficient PUs and will remain within the temperature limits," Sidel stated. Other brewers using the software include Efes and Labatt, Sidel stated. Prince was developed in a joint project between Sidel and the University of Padua. The European Commission forecast last week that inflation in the countries using the euro could reach 2.4 per cent in the fourth quarter due to rises in oil, commodity and food prices.