Boilers play many important roles in food and beverage processing facilities — generating the hot water for process and facility uses, driving machinery and heating the building. While many different types of boilers are used, one system offers on-demand steam. A benefit of this type is that they can help improve both the environmental footprint and the bottom line of the company.

In this article, learn about two companies that added on-demand boilers to satisfy their steam heating needs. Installing an advanced boiler technology helped a food processor, Titan Frozen Fruit, become more competitive via reduced energy consumption while complying with strict state water restrictions. A craft brewing company added on-demand steam boilers to make its brews in an eco-friendly way.

Fruit Processor Achieves Energy Savings

Located in the prime strawberry-growing region of Santa Maria, Calif., Titan Frozen Fruit is a premium frozen-fruit company that sought to cost-effectively produce high quality, safe frozen strawberry products while using less energy and adhering to strict local regulations.

The team of tenured fruit-processing professionals that created Titan Frozen Fruit set out to create a state-of-the-art facility in October 2013. The company wanted to exceed industry standards as well as the requirements of their global customers. To meet these goals, Titan Frozen Fruit needed to equip the facility with innovative, efficient fruit-processing technology.

The Titan team needed to start from the ground up. Building a new construction, non-residential facility in California, however, comes with strict energy and water regulations. With California facing its driest year on record, and state legislation demanding severe conservation measures, Titan Frozen Fruit faced limitations other food processors might not. The company sought technically advanced equipment that would allow it to keep production levels high while cutting energy and utility costs and simultaneously adhering to legislative and natural resource limitations.

Based on the management team’s previous industry experience, the company decided to bypass the traditional 800-hp boilers used within the industry in favor of smaller yet efficient units. After a review of the options, the Titan Frozen Fruit team chose on-demand boilers designed with an energy conservation approach. The company ordered three on-demand steam boilers that produce steam within five minutes of startup and maintain an 85 percent fuel-to-steam efficiency.

In addition to the on-demand steam and energy-efficient boilers, the boiler manufacturer provided a water-treatment and remote-monitoring system. The system would help the fruit processor meet its resource-conservation efforts and, at the same time, produce the strawberry concentrate and purees at a high level of demand.

Installing the complete on-demand steam heating system as a part of the new construction helped Titan Frozen Fruit receive its permit to construct in less than two months. (Typically, it takes approximately 180 days to receive a permit to construct in Santa Barbara County.) Titan was also able to become LEED certified for new construction with the installation of the steam heating system.

Because the Titan management team all came to the fruit-processing company from others in the industry, they were familiar with the typical costs of a traditional boiler. Al Souza, director of operations for Titan Frozen Fruit, recalled that a previous facility using 800-hp boilers had energy bills that averaged $42,000 per month. With the on-demand steam heating system at Titan, the monthly energy costs average about half that amount. Eric Duyck, vice president of operations at Titan, estimates that the equipment will be paid off in less than the predicted five years due to the savings on energy and utility costs.

Annual service maintenance for the on-demand steam heating system also was cut dramatically: one day versus the 10 to 14 days at similar facilities with different equipment.

Craft Breweries Choose On-Demand Steam Generation

Craft brewers — the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. beer-making industry — generally are defined as smaller brewers using a mix of traditional and new ingredients and techniques to produce no more than 6 million barrels annually. According to the Brewers Association, Boulder, Colo., there were nearly 3,500 craft breweries in the United States at the end of 2015 — an increase of 19 percent over 2013.

Among those companies is the Gambrinus Co., San Antonio, Texas, which owns Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas, BridgePort Brewery in Portland, and Trumer Brewery in Berkeley, Calif. Spoetzl Brewery is the nation’s fourth largest craft brewer and is best known for its Shiner Beers brand.

Though the Shiner, Texas-based brewery was founded more than 100 years ago, Gambrinus Co. prides itself on using modern, efficient technologies along with its traditional, time-tested, beer-producing protocols. At Spoetzel Brewery, the company uses on-demand steam to make its range of popular Shiner beer brands. Two ultra-low NOX modular on-demand steam boilers provide multiple advantages, says the team at Spoetzl.

Company executives at Spoetzl became acquainted with the on-demand boilers when its parent company needed to replace an aging firetube boiler at its BridgePort Brewery. An on-demand boiler was chosen for its features and compact size. The steam heating system uses technology such as a flat-shaped burner, rectangular-shaped boiler vessel and an ultra-low-NOX gas burner with a quenched flame. The low-water-content watertube provides versatility, and the once-through, forced-circulation steam boiler produces steam in five minutes while maintaining an 85 percent fuel-to-steam efficiency.

The team at Spoetzl chose two on-demand boilers — one gas-fired model and one dual-fuel model — to leverage the advantages of having both types of boilers for its craft-brewing needs. The dual-fuel (gas-oil) boiler provides the same low-water-content watertube design and once-through, forced-circulation steam boiler for on-demand steam production and fuel-to-steam efficiency.

Following the successes at the other breweries, Gambrinus’ Trumer Brewery opted for an on-demand boiler. It would enable the brewery to expand while also ensuring full compliance with California’s stringent air-quality regulations and low-NOX emissions rules.

In conclusion, both Titan Frozen Fruit and the Gambrinus Co.’s brewery companies were able to employ the on-demand boilers while saving money and complying with local environmental regulations. The on-demand boilers convert water to steam in five minutes via a floating-header design that results in reduced fuel costs. And, by reducing the time it takes to bring water to steam, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.