Saint Arnold Brewing Co. co-founder Brock Wagner knew that his growing craft brewery's move to a 104,000-ft2 building in Houston's Northside district needed a new steam boiler when his original firetube boiler began to struggle to keep up with steam demands. A reliable critical steam supply was essential because the company’s heating and sterilization needs were increasing.
After researching suppliers and speaking with other craft brewers in his area, the solution for Wagner was to purchase Miura LX-200 and LX-50 steam boilers from Houston-based Burner Combustion Systems. Saint Arnold Brewing now reports a fuel savings of 50 percent on every barrel of beer it brews in addition to reliable on-demand steam generation.
Miura boilers employ a once-through, fintube design that heats a smaller volume of water efficiently. This feature, combined with built-in precision microprocessor-control technology, conserves fuel and saves an average of 20 percent annually on energy costs over other boiler designs with typical installations. Miura's fintube design also enables its boilers to generate full steam from a cold start in five minutes or less, allowing the boilers to be turned on or off as needed to efficiently manage changing load conditions rather than idling in standby and consuming energy.
“We use a batch process, so there are long periods when our steam requirements dip,” Wagner explains. “With Miura [boilers], it takes no time at all for the boilers to turn on, fire up and be at pressure. And they’re only firing when we actually need them. Our old system had to be turned on far ahead of when it was needed because it took so long to build up pressure. And then once we started pulling on it, it often struggled to keep up.”
Miura boiler design also provides a more compact footprint than firetube boilers, and this was another factor in Wagner’s decision.
“Had we installed a firetube boiler, our boiler room would have to have been extended another six feet out,” he says. “We would have had to either reduce our fermentation area, or make the entire building larger, which would have been a big decision.”
The extra space gained by installing Miura boilers also provides Saint Arnold with the option of adding additional units in the future should the company add craft distilling operations.
Another benefit of the fintube design is its reduced output of nitrogen oxides (NOX) and carbon dioxide (CO2) compared to conventional boilers, says the company. 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. This design results in a reduction of NOX emissions by about one-quarter of what traditional firetube boilers emit, according to Miura, enabling the boilers to comply with stringent air-quality regulations. With regard to reduced CO2 emissions, Miura's technology leverages operating efficiency to contribute to carbon abatement with a payback. For Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Houston has low-NOX standards which the boilers allowed the company to meet. According to Wagner, the company is always looking for ways to reduce its carbon footprint and be more energy efficient, and the control features of the Miura boilers have helped achieve that goal.