CO2 recovery for smaller brewers excites at Drinktec

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As brewers worldwide struggle with securing CO2 supplies, one of the products generating interest at this year’s Drinktec trade show has been a carbon dioxide recovery system designed for craft brewers.

New Zealand brewer Brian Watson, who attended the trade show in Munich, said he was excited to come across the stand of CO2 recovery plant manufacturer Dalum.

“It’s the great thing about Drinktec, you turn a corner and see something like that, a system designed for up to up to 20,000 hectolitres, perfect, exactly what I need,” he said.

Watson said the current carbon dioxide shortage was a huge issue for brewers in New Zealand.

“We just can’t get it,” Watson said.”They’ve shut down the oil refining plant of which CO2 is a byproduct, so we’ve only got one CO2. Llots of brewers in New Zealand are on 50 to 60 per cent rations of CO2.”

Watson said that against that background every brewery over 10,000 hectolitres should be looking to recover its CO2.

“For three reasons,” he said. “Economy, self-sustainability and continuous supply.”

The unit that impressed Watson was developed by Danish engineering firm Dalum Beverage Equipment. While he said he hadn’t trialled the new system, Watson said he was interested in finding out more about the unit.

Founder Kim Dalum developed the unit because craft brewers don’t have access to the technology available to larger brewers for being environmentally efficient.

“We decided to scale down some process and I had meetings with several brewers,” he said.

“And I was working on different technologies at the time and they all said go for CO2 recovery.”

Dalum held senior roles at Alfa Laval, Krones and Union Engineering before founding his own business.

“I was considering my future and decided it was time to make my own business and shift focus a little bit to craft growing because this is where the development is, where the growth is,” he said.

“And people like myself who want to build something.”

The plant he developed promotes a circular utilisation of a brewery’s own CO2, by recovering it from the fermentation. It is collected, cleaned, liquefied, stored and ready to be used in all steps of beer production.

“We started out with a unit to cover [breweries making] around 15,000 hectolitres,” he said.”

“We soon learned that there was a demand for slightly bigger units, but also for smaller units.

“There are more breweries in your segment from 1,000 hectolitres up to five than there is from say five to 10 or 20 [thousand hectolitres].

“So we decided to actually make to make a smaller five-kilogram model so we can help brewers who are making from 1000 hectolitres a year.”

Dalum said the business had already sold 25 units to brewers in Europe and the United Kingdom, and had recently sold one to Western Australia’s Rocky Ridge Brewing, which is a leader in small brewery sustainability.

Dalum was one of a number of manufacturers making smaller-scale carbon capture technology, that also included Chart Industries.

Carbon capture is one of a number of ways brewers are looking to become more sustainable with carbon dioxide recovery and reuse projects.

Drinktec continues in Munich, Germany until 16th September.


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