Alfa Laval’s De-alcoholization Module, which produces non-alcohol beer below 0.5% ABV, has been presented at this year’s Drinktec.
Producing beer in one process with minimum use of utilities, the machine is a streamlined combination of heat exchangers. The module first degasses the beer, returns condensable volatiles back to the beer stream, and then removes alcohol using culinary steam flowing upwards in a special stripping column. The alcohol exits as a vapour, which is condensed and collected.
Alfa Laval said it is a ‘fully automated, energy-efficient’ module that gives a reliable single-pass alcohol removal, using a stripping principle that is ‘exceptionally effective at low temperature’ and pressure, lowering operating costs.
The De-alcoholization Module strips alcohol from the beer vents from the top of the column as a vapour and into a plate heat exchanger, where it cools and condenses into a stream of water, stripped alcohol and other volatiles.
The alcohol present in the feed beer is removed in a vertical stripping column by flowing a stripping gas up a tower of densely-packed material under near-vacuum conditions, designed to make sure there’s maximum contact area between the beer and the stripping gas – and thus making the stripping process as efficient as possible. Alfa Laval said this dense packing material is a distinctive feature of the machine.
In a statement, Alfa Laval said: “The degassing process also serves as a recovery vector for beer aroma volatiles. A tubular condenser cools all the degassed vapors, re-condensing aromatic volatiles into a stream that can be reintroduced to the beer stream before or after the stripping process, allowing for production of either non-alcoholic or low-alcohol beer.
“Prior to stripping, the carbonation level of the feed beer is decreased by degassing in a vacuum chamber, preventing foaming in the stripping column.”
The whole process of producing the beer is designed for a high degree of energy recovery, something which Alfa Laval believes will appeal to breweries as it cuts down operating costs and boosts environmental credentials.
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