Babcock Wanson’s TPC 400B Thermal Fluid Heater has been installed into Freedom Brewery’s Abbots Bromley site in Staffordshire as part of its Wort Boiler system. Together with many other updates to the process, this has resulted in reducing the overall energy costs per litre brewed by more than 80%.
Brewery Thermal Fluid Heater
The UK’s original craft lager brewer, Freedom Brewery is dedicated to creating the highest-quality award winning lager in the most sustainable way possible. The company has undertaken a number of steps as part of its commitment to reducing its environmental impact, including moving from steam to thermal fluid heating.
Whilst thermal fluid heaters are used extensively in many industries, the brewery sector has traditionally used steam as the heating method of choice. With the upsurge of micro breweries, this is slowly changing as, unlike steam boilers, thermal fluid heating systems are compact, easy to use and offer substantial savings in total energy and maintenance costs.
The TPC 400B is a fully automatic coil type, multi-pass thermal fluid heater complete with integrated burner, control system and safety devices. It provides optimal distribution of the heat, high fluid velocity in the exchange tubes and continuous flow monitoring to ensure long thermal fluid and system life and the highest level of safety.
At Freedom Brewery the thermal fluid circulates through the external Wort Boiler which, due to the use of thermal fluid, does not require rating as a pressure vessel. Once at temperature, the wort thermosyphons through the heat exchanger without the need to use a copper casting pump thereby ensuring very simple operation and further reducing site electrical costs. A very precise heat transfer to the process is achieved through an integrated control system to enable Freedom to achieve the quality it is has become renown for whilst also reducing overall fuel costs.
— Loucas Antoniou, Engineering Manager at Bakkavor Meals London
“The Thermal Oxidiser is the most efficient way of removing any smells and it’s also very straightforward to use. We have been a customer of Babcock Wanson for many years and have always enjoyed a good service.”
— Carbon Trust Annual Report 2009/10
“A major carbon footprint reduction will be achieved when the scheme currently in progress to change the main boiler fuel from heating oil to gas is completed in summer 2010. This £900k project will reduce our carbon emissions via energy usage by around 15% by removing the need to use heavy fuel oil, as the new boiler plant will use natural gas as its main fuel source.”
— Webster & Horsfall
“What we hadn’t expected initially though is the level of control the new system provides us with; it’s amazing. It alerts us to any potential issues, is easy to maintain (no annual statutory inspection is required) and is quick to respond. All that and it doesn’t take up much room.”
— Peter Connolly, Production Engineer at Vacu-Lug
“The ESM 2000 installation, together with an ongoing programme of process plant lagging and steam trap maintenance, has enabled us to significantly reduce our gas usage and cushion the company against rising gas prices.”
— Dave Scrivens, Facilities Manager at Plastic Omnium
“Babcock Wanson’s expertise and ability to provide a whole package made them the leading contender for this project. On further investigation, their proposal was also commercially viable, which sealed the deal.”
— Denis Kelly, Engineering & Construction Manager at Stolthaven Dagenham
“The Thermal Fluid Heaters themselves were ideal for this project as they are based on mature technology and are well proven in the field. They are robust and also require very little maintenance.”
— Ian McQuarrie, Engineering Manager at Puredrive
“During my three years here, the Steam Generators and Thermal Fluid Heaters have worked flawlessly. Babcock Wanson carries a good name in the business for both quality and equipment longevity. Their knowledge, company wide, is exceptional and the whole package from installation through to service is managed professionally.”
— Jason Hall, J&A Young Engineering Manager
“We had estimated our steam requirements, but Babcock Wanson had the experience to understand that we had underestimated this. In fact, the erratic nature of the steam loads would have been impossible to meet under our existing spec. Babcock Wanson was able to identify this as well as provide a very energy efficient solution with a number of enhanced features”.
— Lee Bullen, Corrugated Services Manager at Board24
“It’s running very well, both easy to use and efficient. The service from Babcock Wanson has also been very good.”
— Peter Shrimpton, Engineering Projects Manager at Bridgnorth Aluminium Ltd
"We were unfamiliar with Babcock Wanson, but we’ve had no problems with it whatsoever; you simply switch it on and it works – simple as that! The service we have received from Babcock Wanson has also been great.”
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Commenting on their decision to move away from steam, Andrew Taylor, Director at Freedom Brewery, says: “we chose thermal fluid because it was more cost-effective to install and run, has a smaller space requirement than steam and provides a greener solution.”
Since being installed, Andrew is extremely pleased with the TPC 400B Thermal Fluid Heater’s performance: “the heater has performed in excess of expectations. It is compact, much faster to bring into operation than a steam boiler and, because it does not use steam as the heat transfer medium, is much cheaper as there is no water treatment and no condensate return.”
But for Andrew ultimately the reduction in energy costs have really been the most outstanding factor: “Our energy costs per litre brewed are now a sixth than they were before!” That’s partly because the system precisely matches fuel input to plant energy requirements for highest practicable operating efficiency. With lower energy input demand also comes lower total exhaust emissions – another environmental benefit for Freedom Brewery. Substantial savings are readily achieved; Babcock Wanson claim between 20-50% energy savings can be made by using a TPC B thermal fluid heating system when compared to the transfer of the same amount of heat using traditional steam boilers.
Using thermal fluid as opposed to water has other key benefits including removing the problems caused by scaling if water treatment malfunctions or freezing due to low ambient temperatures, as well as improved safety.