• A representation of GEA's QBOIL compared to usual boiling.
    A representation of GEA's QBOIL compared to usual boiling.

GEA has launched an innovation for wort boiling: the GEA QBOIL, that can reduce energy consumption by 60 per cent compared to conventional systems without energy recovery.

The QBOIL was the result of pilot tests recently carried out by GEA in cooperation with the brewing academy of Warstein Brewery.

GEA QBOIL combines three technologies to create a highly efficient process: the Fed-Batch process with gradual addition of wort, fractional boiling and heat recovery by vapour condensation.

Less boiling, energy recovery

GEA innovation manager Dr. Daniel Heller explained the principle.

“The extract-rich 80 percent of the wort is boiled step by step. By doing this we recover the energy used for evaporation directly within the same brew to preheat the wort.”

With this lean heat cycle, GEA prevents transfer and storage losses, which can occur with modern energy storage systems with hot water tanks. This massively reduces energy consumption and increases the efficiency of the wort boiling process.

How QBOIL works

At the heart of the new development is a distillation column, which is divided into a rectification and a stripping area in order to concentrate or remove volatile wort components. A heat exchanger located above uses the wort as a cooling medium.

In the process, the pre-run tank is filled with the first wort. After first wort lautering, around half of the first wort is added to the wort kettle, and this first fraction is boiled. Meanwhile, more wort continuously enters the kettle via the heat exchanger and is lautered.

The rising vapor is used in the heat exchanger to preheat the wort that is subsequently added. An innovative recirculation system returns the condensate to the column, where unwanted volatile substances are removed.

Minimizing evaporation and wort boiling time

This innovation underlines GEA's leading role in brewing technology and demonstrates the company's commitment to sustainable and efficient brewing processes. GEA QBOIL not only enables a total evaporation rate of less than 0.5 per cent instead of the usual 4 per cent, but also reduces the wort boiling time from approximately 80 to 45 minutes, which creates additional capacity in the brewing process and reduces the thermal load on the wort.

Even compared to modern boiling systems with energy recovery, GEA QBOIL is expected to allow energy savings of 30 per cent. In the future, breweries will be able to do without the usual energy storage tanks because the energy is recovered directly without intermediate storage.

GEA QBOIL can be easily integrated into existing brewing plants without affecting the current brewing technology. Following the successful tests on the pilot plant, GEA will now be scaling up with a large brewery.

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