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'Old technology, new applications'
The brewing process requires a significant amount of heating and cooling at different stages. Many breweries use relatively simple heat recovery processes to capture waste heat from boiling, wort cooling, and other processes but these methods are reaching a point where recovery of heat is uneconomic or impractical to reuse.
Absorption cooling is a very old technology used in refrigerators where electricity was unreliable, costly, or unavailable. They are powered by heat from the combustion of fuel. Waste heat available from a brewery process provides an opportunity to "power" an absorption cooling system.
At Dreher in Hungary, an absorption cooling project was initiated to utilize surplus waste heat recovered from the boiling process. The primary use of this recovered energy is to preheat the wort on the way to the kettle where it is boiled. It was found that there was approximately 350kW of "surplus heat" with which it was decided to use to power an absorption cooling process. The refrigeration energy provided is used to pre-cool water used in the process and save electrical energy normally used to refrigerate this water.
Through the project, Dreher have reduced their carbon footprint; with a net electrical saving of 82kW, it is estimated that CO2 emissions have been reduced by 260 Tonnes per year.
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