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Filter Technology for Cold Sterilization

Sustainable Brewing Technology in Lapland

Tornion Brewery Limited Liability Company was founded in 1873 by influential merchants and leaders in Tornio on the Arctic waters of the Tornionjoki River. 148 years later, sustainable management with the support of innovative filtration technology is high on the agenda for this traditional craft brewery.

Tornion Panimo OY's goal is true CO2 neutrality: all energy in production is 100 percent renewable, climate-neutral electricity. Our premises are heated by ground and water heat. The mash used is used as animal feed. Refillable steel tanks are mainly used for the draft beers. All waste is recycled, and the brewery is constantly looking for new ways to reduce its carbon footprint and waste impact. On the way to achieving this goal, the use of innovative filtration technology should be a decisive factor. According to Managing Director Kaj Kostiander at Tornion Panimo, "The decision to replace the tried-and-tested kieselguhr filtration with subsequent pasteurization by crossflow technology and to use high-performance filters for cold sterilization in the final stage was of great significance to us. Because the success of our beer is based on its typical taste. Our most famous beer is the authentic Lapland Gold Medal beer, Original Lapland Lager, brewed according to the original 1960s recipe for success. We had to find a balance between tradition, efficiency, and sustainability. After an intensive period of information and consultation with breweries of our size and with process engineers, we decided to break new ground. These were to lead to the abandonment of the use of kieselguhr. This step was in line with our efforts to achieve greater sustainability in the brewing process. For productions up to 50 hl/h, good experience was available in the use of crossflow beer filtration with polymer membranes, so we decided on this filtration process."

LifeTec™ depth and membrane filters for pre-, fine and sterile filtration with high filtration performance, excellent flow rate as well as mechanical stability.

The process and its use since September 2020 can already be assessed positively throughout. With very constant flow rates, product losses were decisively reduced and also the modular design and the use of Donaldson LifeTec™ PP 100 N 1 µm filters for prefiltration and LifeTec™ PES BN A 0.45 µm absolute membrane filters for cold sterilization proved to be a safe and economical solution. The many years of experience in the development and processing of polypropylene and polyethersulfone membranes, which are manufactured in the cleanroom at Donaldson’s plant in Haan, Germany to produce high-performance filter elements in 10", 20", 30" and 40" sizes, also proved their worth in this application in combination with crossflow technology. Here, the cold sterilization process is a key technology for the Finnish brewers, who not only have to ensure the sterility of the different production batches of 20 to 50 hl/h prior to keg filling at flow rates of 40 hl/h, but also guarantee the stability of the taste.

PF-EG sanitary filter housings and LifeTec™ liquid filters in the test phase at Tornion Panimo OY.
Filters for the Cold Sterilization

In contrast to thermal treatment (pasteurization or flash pasteurization), cold sterilization offers two decisive advantages: Firstly, energy savings and secondly, the characteristic taste properties are not affected by filtration, because the membrane retains the components that negatively affect the taste and shelf life. Retrofitting in an existing process and maintenance of the filter system, consisting of a PF-EG Sanitary filter housing and the LifeTec™ liquid filters, is also very easy and enables a sustainably more economical beverage production.

The LifeTec™ PES-BN A filter element is manufactured in accordance with GMP requirements as per Directive EC/2023/2006 in a Class 7 clean room and is subject to the highest quality control. Of course, these filters are tested for food contact according to CFR Title 21 and EC/1935/2004.

… and the Pre-Filtration

LifeTec™ PP N elements are used as pre-filtration filters in the plant design at Tornion Panimo. These nominal depth filters, made exclusively of polypropylene, feature a polypropylene filter media with inwardly increasing fiber density and asymmetric pore structure to achieve high flow rates and low differential pressures with absolute submicron particle retention. In addition to a very high dirt holding capacity, the Donaldson LifeTec™ PP N element impresses with its broad chemical compatibility as well as its insensitivity to hydraulic shocks. Also noteworthy is the high temperature tolerance for sanitization as well as the tolerance to steam sterilization, which is up to 100 cycles.

Good Conditions for Future-Proof and Sustainable Production

"The conversion to the crossflow process and cold sterilization has fulfilled our core requirement of maintaining the traditional flavor profile and the good shelf life of our beers, and has brought us economic and environmental advantages," emphasizes Managing Director Kaj Kostiander. He is particularly enthusiastic about three advantages of the new filter system: "We save water, have significantly fewer beer losses and the regeneration of the sterile filters with 85 °C hot water ensures the recovery of the filtration performance. - We see ourselves well positioned for the future and plan to expand our beverage portfolio." — Roberto Melchiorri, Donaldson Brewery Key Account Manager Global Business Development.

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