Craft beer is enjoying increasing popularity, but is only one of several products at many breweries. That's why wort coolers with somewhat larger gap sizes are required so that beers with less turbidity and strongly hopped varieties can all be brewed on the same line. The new NL80M plate heat exchanger offers the ideal compromise between versatility and efficiency for these kinds of operations. They are being used, for example, in the new brewery of Duration Brewing.
From the idea to set up a small private brewery to its implementation took just two years: In 2017, the founders of Duration Brewing had the vision to enhance the market with their own, individual variety of beers.
The dream became reality in fall 2019 with the completed brewery in West Acre (Norfolk, England) and the associated filling facility.
The line is small but still packs a punch and, above all, has a flexible layout. That's why Duration Brewing can now brew lager beer or hybrid fermentations as well as strongly hopped beers with a Belgian flair or even those in the style of an American craft beer. Duration Brewing commissioned the Bavarian company BrauKon GmbH from Seeon, Germany to plan and construct the brewery.Well-designed Wort Cooler One component that is critically decisive for the flexibility of a brewery is the wort cooler. The wort cooler is often designed as a plate heat exchanger due to the low space footprint and low investment costs. The gap width of a heat exchanger dictates which types of beer can be produced. If a cooler is strictly designed for simple, top-fermented beers, for example, based on the Kelvion plates of the NT series, then it has gaps of around 3 mm that are generally too narrow for well-hopped varieties. The turbidity would unreliably pass the cooler and in the worst-case scenario would lead to a complete blockage before the end of cooling. In order to avoid any process impairments from the get-go, BrauKon recommended the heat exchanger plates from the NF series (e.g. NF100M) from Kelvion for strongly hopped beers. The larger gap width also means, however, that heat cannot be transferred as efficiently as with smaller flow gaps," explains Steffen Lieven, Project Manager at BrauKon.High Service Life and High Efficiency The NL plate now offers the ideal compromise between flexibility and efficiency. It is suitable for operating pressures >20 bar, provides connections with a nominal diameter of 80 mm and has a heat exchange surface area of 0.28 m² per plate. With a gap width of approx. 4.2 mm, it provides enough space to allow strongly-hopped media to pass through and also provides improved heat transfer as compared to plates with a 5 mm gap width. Duration Brewing is one of the pioneering users of this product because BrauKon equipped its brewery with a wort cooler based on NL plates. It's to be expected that the reduction of the gap width to approx 4.2 mm will significantly improve the heat transfer in the double digit percentage range so that energy consumption will also be lowered. This results in not just a good heat transfer rate, but also reduced fouling build-up.Reliable Gaskets, easy Installation The PosLoc assembly system and EcoLoc gasket system ensure easy assembly of the heat exchanger during installation and maintenance. The PosLoc design makes sure that the plates of gasketed plate heat exchangers align automatically during assembly and seal tight. The EcoLoc gaskets can be attached easily without special tools or adhesives. When the device is closed, the correct fit is established automatically. This results in reliable gaskets that can be replaced if necessary, quickly and easily.
Summary The NL series of heat exchanger plates from Kelvion are well suited for the cooling of strongly-hopped worts due to their gap width. Breweries that want to produce craft beers as well as other types will find that the NL series provides the right components.
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