The largest craft brewer in North Carolina, Highland Brewing Co. has grown considerably since it began operation as a basement startup using retrofitted dairy equipment in 1994. Today, Asheville-based Highland occupies a large, efficient brewery that produces an array of popular ales anticipated to exceed 25,000 barrels this year. Integral to Highland’s expansion was its recent choice of a gas-fired LX-100 boiler from Atlanta-based Miura Boiler.
“When we decided to increase our brewing capacity, we spoke to other craft brewers and learned of Miura’s great reputation,” says director of operations Kevin Wheeler. “Miura met our needs in terms of energy savings, on-demand steam, low emissions and a smaller footprint.”
Utilizing its floating header design, Miura’s boilers are engineered to go from a cold start to full steam in less than five minutes. This on-demand steam-generation feature enables users to match load fluctuations as they occur instead of consuming energy while idling a boiler in standby.
“We use our LX-100 to heat our brewing water [known as “hot liquor”], we use it on our keg line for heat/steam/sanitation, and we use it for our boil and our mash in the brewing process,” Wheeler says. “Sometimes, we need lots of steam; other times we don’t. A conventional-style boiler would need to run constantly to maintain its peak output level. With the Miura LX-100, however, we can shut it off all weekend, blow it down, drain it out and save gas. On Monday morning we turn it on and have full steam by the time we walk over to the brew house.”
Microprocessor-controlled for precision operation, Miura boilers save an average of 20 percent annually on fuel costs compared to other boilers for typical installations, says the manufacturer. This is due to Miura’s once-through fin-tube design that it says conserves fuel, water and physical space. Even with a smaller footprint, Miura’s proprietary design produces BHP outputs comparable to much larger units.
Coupled with the lower energy usage of Miura boilers is their reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Miura boilers achieve low-NOX performance by reducing the temperature of the boiler’s flame, which in turn reduces the amount of excited nitrogen atoms available to bond with oxygen to form nitrogen oxides. As a result, NOXemissions are reduced to around one-quarter of what traditional fire-tube boilers emit.
Highland reports that its Miura LX-100 boiler saves up to $1,200 per month in fuel costs, even with a 20 percent increase in production, an added keg line that has increased the demand for process steam, and a recent decrease in the price Highland was paying for natural gas.
Wheeler says the Miura LX-100’s low NOX/low CO2output is directly in line with the company’s strong commitment to environmental sustainability.
“We are just an hour from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and acid rain is a huge concern for us here,” he says. “We like to ‘walk-the-walk’ as well as ‘talk-the-talk’ about being environmentally responsible, and our Miura boiler helps us do that. This means a lot to us as a company, and we have found that a strong environmental commitment also makes good economic sense. We have saved on our gas bill dramatically with our Miura boiler. In the year and a half since we’ve had it installed, it has probably already paid for itself in energy savings. We’ve been able to increase production by a third while reducing our energy costs to less than what they were prior to installing this boiler. The Miura LX-100 has been a great asset for us and I would recommend it to anyone.”
Craft Brewer Relies on Boiler for Fuel Efficency, Quick Steam
March 21, 2012