Did you know that it takes 168 litres of water to produce one pint of beer?
In other words, water consumption in the beer manufacturing industry is significant.
In 2022, over 332 billion pints of beer were manufactured globally.

As water scarcity increases, water-intensive businesses are responding by introducing new technologies, processes, and initiatives into their business operations with the goal of reducing water consumption.

An international survey, reported on by Food Engineering, has established that 80% of nearly 3,500 participants believe reducing waste is key to sustainable beer production, followed by reducing energy (76%) and water use (63%).

49% of the respondents were willing to choose a more expensive but sustainably produced beer over a cheaper, less sustainable option.

With manufacturers needing to prioritise sustainable practices to appeal to consumers, how does HPS Advanced Liquid Product Recovery (Pigging) Technology help?

Beer Manufacturing and the Environment

The impact of beer on the environment is multifaceted and significant. Key areas of concern during production processes include intense water usage, energy consumption, transportation, waste generation, and carbon creation.

Pigging technology is used by beverage manufacturers for its ability to improve production output and environmental ratings whilst simultaneously providing a high year-on-year return on investment (ROI).

Pigging involves using a specialist projectile, known as a “pig”, which is automatically released into and propelled through pipelines. The pig pushes the product to its destination, recovering up to 99.5% of residual liquid from the pipelines that would have otherwise gone to waste.

Reduced Water Usage

One of the key benefits of pigging for beer manufacturers is reduced water usage. Maintaining product quality means ensuring that regular rinsing and cleaning cycles take place. For manufacturers, this means a lot of water is used to flush and clean the pipelines between product changeovers.

High quality pigging technology allows for minimal product bypass, which makes cleaning procedures more efficient whilst reducing the quantity of water required.

Decreased Energy Consumption

Manufacturers frequently use high quantities of energy during changeover and cleaning processes. From powering pumps to heating water, the energy requirements are variable and intensive.

Pigging is a very quick process that cuts changeover times significantly – one HPS client has reduced their changeover times from 3 hours to around 15 minutes – while also minimising energy consumption.

Cutting energy consumption plays into the ROI of investing in pigging technology by decreasing overhead spending and freeing up money for future equipment investments and business growth.

Reduced energy consumption also relieves pressure on natural resources used in energy creation, contributing to the general improvement of the earth’s health as energy suppliers seek to move over to green energy creation.

Minimised Waste and Effluent

Liquid product recovery systems are primarily used to increase yields. By increasing yields, manufacturers also reduce waste.

From storage to transport, treatment and disposal, waste and effluent require significant amounts of money and time. It’s a laborious process. Legal regulations also have an impact on the costs of waste products and are becoming gradually stricter as environmental legislation is implemented.

Using pigging technology, manufacturers recover up to 99.5% of residual product from pipelines. This product, which is useable and sellable, is typically flushed to waste during the changeover process.

Reducing waste minimises the risks of land and water pollution through spills and leaks. It also reduces the use of chemicals, which can be harmful to employees and the environment when not handled correctly. Finally, reducing the quantity of waste that needs to be transported to specialist disposal facilities decreases businesses’ carbon footprints by minimising the number of vehicles on the roads that are emitting carbon.

Pigging technology reduces waste output, carbon emissions, and energy usage.

Specialist Pigging Technology for Beer Manufacturing

Pigging systems come in various configurations, each tailored to suit specific applications. For handling products susceptible to foaming like beer, HPS typically recommends a double-pig pigging system.

Why Do Beer Manufacturers Need Specialist Technology?

Beer is a volatile product when it comes to processing. Carbonation during bottling and kegging can affect product quality and cause product loss. Understandably, brewers can be reluctant to implement new equipment into their processes because of this.

However, specialist pigging technology that helps companies achieve their business growth and CSR goals does exist.

How Does the Double-Pig Pigging System Work?

The double-pig pigging system creates a plug between the product and the propellant, preventing contact with air.

To do this, one pig is inserted into the line before the product transfer sequence, creating a barrier between the product and the pump releasing air. The interference fit prevents any bypass and helps to maintain product quality.

The product transfer sequence then begins. The product pushes the pig and the pig pushes air out of the line and then enters the pig housing. The product continues to its destination.

At the end of the transfer sequence, a second pig is released into the line behind the product. The pig pushes any residual liquid through the pipeline to its destination, before being propelled back to its pig housing.

Watch our video on how double-pig pigging systems work.

HPS Product Recovery Solutions

Selecting the right pigging system provider for your needs is important. Companies who are looking for high-quality equipment and exceptional customer service frequently turn to HPS.

We have over 29 years of experience in pigging systems for beverages, with our technology used with beer, wine, spirits, juices, cordials, and sodas. To find out more about how HPS will help you to improve your processing and make your products greener, contact us today.

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