Wineries: practical steps towards energy efficiency

It’s a fact that winery owners care about energy efficient wine making. They need to cut on costs to compete both locally and internationally; they care about environment as they understand real threats to their nature- and weather- dependant business; they use their achievements in preserving energy  as their green credentials improving their image.

Australian wineries have fantastic support, such as AWRI, Australian Wine Research Institute, giving recommendations on improving efficiency in wine making. Great tools are available to help them reach their goals, such as WEST, winery energy saver toolkit, created by South Australian Wine Industry Association.  This document gives practical advice on cutting down energy costs, determining the main areas requiring improvement, as

  • Refrigeration and tank storage
  • Pumping
  • Compressed air
  • Hot water
  • HVAC & lighting

There are also knowledgeable consultants and suppliers of equipment, helping wineries invest wisely, achieving quick return on investment and getting tangible results. There are great outcomes already achieved by some wine makers thanks to installation of solar thermal systems and cuts on energy for refrigeration.

We would like to highlight some equipment that will allow achieving further improvements in energy efficiency in the wine making industry.

Condensing boilers for hot water

An average winery uses 5000 – 10000 litres of hot water a day, with water heated up to 85-90°C for sterilizing purposes, or up to 65°C for barrel and tank cleaning, or up to 40°C for gentle warming of the product. Condensing boilers recover the heat lost by water vapour in the flue gas, which saves on fuel consumption. Replacing a 15-year old boiler with a condensing one will cut on Natural Gas or LPG costs by 25-30%. Saint Roch condensing boilers have 90% to 96% efficiency depending on the operating temperatures, which is 15-30% higher than conventional boilers. Thanks to the premix burner, which guarantees maximum mixing of gas and air for combustion, emissions of NOx and CO are 80-90% less compared to conventional boilers (NOx < 20 ppm, CO < 35 ppm). Integrated control system allows users adjust such parameters as temperature as per their requirements. Condensing boilers can be combined with solar power, making hot water even cheaper.

Tank heating

For rapid heating of water in a tank, immersion tank heating can be a good option, both for CIP and for bottle washing purposes. Lanemark immersion tube tank heating systems are highly cost-effective in operation, promising over 85% efficiency even with an LPG operated burners, as no heat is lost in pipes.

Pumps

There is a pump that warrants high product recovery, saving both the product and energy – it’s an eccentric disc pump from Mouvex. This positive displacement pump has low linear speed and high volumetric efficiency which allows it to act as a metering device, precisely measuring equal volumes of product for bottling or packaging. Mouvex pump improves the quality of the product, allowing transfer of wine material without smashing the seeds. This pump is used in wineries for product transfer from storage tanks to tangential filters, or to bottling tanks.

Air knives

One of the best ways to cut on the compressed air costs is not to use compressed air for certain operations, for example, for drying bottles prior to labeling. The solution here would be blower operated air knives, saving up to 85% in running costs compared to compressed air knives. They are easy to install and require minimum maintenance. Air knives can be used not only for bottle drying but also for fruit drying.

Cogeneration via anaerobic digestion

During the vintage season, wine industry generates big volumes of acidic wastewaters which are best treated with anaerobic digestion. The sludge placed in the anaerobic reactor produces biogas, which can be captured in order to generate both heat and power or use it for hot water generation via condensing boiler. Modern methods of mixing allow increasing biogas yield making the project financially attractive. During non-vintage season, other liquid wastes or waste solids can be used to add to the sludge.

The size of the winery, its location, and presence of accompanying businesses, current technologies and fuel availability determine the best solutions and the most suitable equipment for the particular enterprise. We will be happy to assist you in choosing the small practical steps leading to tangible results in saving energy and cutting on manufacturing costs. Contact us today!

Further Reading:

http://www.winebiz.com.au/gwm/backissues/view.asp?view=249

http://www.ghd.com/PDF/Wastewater%20Treatment%20for%20Wineries.pdf

http://www.awri.com.au/wp-content/uploads/renewable_energy_fact_sheet.pdf