Trap and condensate optimization saves water and energy for West Coast brewery
July 29, 2010
As the MillerCoors 2009 Sustainability Development Report
“The Irwindale, California MillerCoors Brewery is certainly
doing its part to ensure their resources are sustainable long into the future
by driving reductions in the amount of water they use, the amount of energy
they consume and the amount of waste they generate. MillerCoors produces more
than 70 million barrels of beer annually and the Irwindale Brewery has the
capacity to produce 7 million of those barrels. The Irwindale Brewery produces
and distributes cans, bottles, and kegs of beer to multiple states as well as
In the process of making beer, the Irwindale Brewery uses
steam to water plates & frame heat exchangers to heat water. A condensate
recovery system collects condensate from the exchangers and sends it to a
pressurized receiver on the floor below where it is emptied by four
pressure-powered pumps. Prior to this effort, the brewery had 155 steam traps,
about a third of which were orifice devices and working steam flow meters.
MillerCoors Irwindale Brewery joined forces with
Spirax-Sarco, Inc. to perform a detailed review of current systems in an effort
to identify any opportunities to improve the efficiency of water and energy
Spirax Sarco provided recommendations on improving
MillerCoors condensate recovery by about 70% to 85% therefore, reducing make-up
water consumption. Spirax Sarco collaborated with representatives of Southern
California Gas Company, who provided guidance for business incentive
qualifications applied to conservation initiatives. While staying within
MillerCoors budget, the team was committed to ensuring Spirax Sarco met
MillerCoors expectations at each step of the project while still meeting the
goal of water saving.
consumption also reduces energy consumption
Spirax Sarco and SoCalGas representatives performed a steam
trap system survey and a condensate return system assessment. The trap survey
uncovered condensate losses due to incorrect applications of orifice style
steam traps, in addition to traps that had failed opened. The condensate return
system assessment revealed that the pressurized receiver was designed for
electric pumps, while the system was using non-electric pressure powered pumps.
Condensate removal was not optimal, resulting in flooding and maintenance
problems with the relatively new heat exchangers. Also suspected was dumping of
condensate to attain required temperature, which only made the water
consumption problems worse.
A carefully reasoned
One aspect of the Spirax Sarco proposed optimization
strategy centered on obtaining energy savings by repairing failed-open traps.
This strategy qualified for SoCalGas rebates that helped to fund a portion of
the project. Also helpful was the Spirax Sarco team’s economic modeling
demonstrating total water savings which became available by eliminating orifice
and other traps that often plug and fail closed. The Spirax Sarco team proposed
the installation of 61 universal traps to replace 45 orifice traps and 16
failed traps in the system for improving condensate recovery.
Another aspect of the strategy was the team’s recommendation
that MillerCoors replace the steam traps off each of the five heat exchangers
with our automatic pump trap skids and replacing the pressurized collection
receiver with our fabricated collection receiver and 5 pressure powered pumps.
The proposal was presented as a turn-key project including installation and
project management. The Spirax Sarco team had to commit to finishing all
proposed work in less than one month from receipt of the MillerCoors purchase
order, which required coordination with the brewery’s heavy production schedule.
The team agreed and was awarded the job.
The benefits of
correct steam loop engineering
With the project completed on time and within budget, the
brewery met its water and energy savings target in the packaging building. The
results showed attainment of the 85% condensate recovery goal, with an annual
savings of 5,369,274 gallons of water and 305,894 therms. As a result, the team
experienced a faster equipment heatup time, improved packaging capacity and
The MillerCoors project was an example of expert assessment,
strategy development, and rapid installation along with good service in