In the ethanol industry, “beer” is a mixture of ethanol, non-fermentable solids, and water. The ethanol is separated from the water, and other impurities, in a distillation column known as a “Beer Column.” Temperature is a critical process control element to fine tune the operation of the column and achieve optimum yields for the ethanol plant. Many ethanol facilities struggle to maintain the required 155-165°F temperature especially during the winter months.
Heating the Beer in the column can be difficult. The volatile ethanol and presence of impurities makes traditional heating methods unreliable. Organic proteins and simple sugars can build up on heat transfer surfaces reducing efficiency by inducing solids carryover in ethanol/water vapor. This can lead to more frequent CIP cleaning cycles.
The ProSonix I-Series steam injection heater (Fig 1) is perfectly suited for this application. Steam is injected at high velocity to smoothly and uniformly heat the beer to the optimum temperature required for effective separation of the ethanol from the other components. The radial multi-port steam jet diffuser optimizes heating of fluids with solids. Our I-series straight-through design, robust construction and self-cleaning design help provide excellent column performance on a daily basis.
Unlike jet cookers used in ethanol plants, the I-Series is a non-shear design. It has a straight flow through design and liquid inlets can be matched to the beer process pipe size. Pressure drop through the I-Series is low and its pipe spool design simplifies installation.
In addition to better temperature control of the beer in distillation, additional benefits include reduced energy consumption at the evaporators and sieve vaporizer. Improved beer temperature can also reduce CIP cleaning and chemical cost.
For more information on our I-Series inline steam injection heater, click here to visit our I-Series Inline Heating page.