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Budvar Brewery in České Budějovice/Czech Republic relies on state-of-the-art and automated processes for clarification: A Donaldson filter system from the LifeTec™ range is used as a trap filter after diatomaceous earth filtration and PVPP treatment of the famous lager beer. As a result, the beer is as clear as it is full of flavor, offering significantly reduced maintenance requirements, and the highest standard of hygiene thanks to integrated backflush capabilities with pre-treated well water.
In 2004, the European Commission awarded Budweiser beer with the "Protected Geographical Indication," which is also due to the special water extracted on site. Trade Brewmaster Aleše Dvořák says, "Most breweries in the world have to treat their water before they can brew, because the right mineral composition is so important for the many complex chemical reactions that take place during brewing. Even small changes in mineral balance can greatly affect the taste of the finished beer."
Based on the traditional art of brewing, the automation of the brewing process is of great importance today, if only for reasons of process reliability. At the same time, any investment in new, more modern technology must ensure that the unique taste of the beer remains consistent. These two principles were the guiding ideas behind the optimization of process filtration in the final stage of the brewing process. In this step, turbidity and remaining yeast cells are removed so that the beer is not only stable with a long shelf life but also clear and bright.
In Budvar Brewery, clarification is performed in a three-step process. First, the beer is filtered by means of diatomaceous earth. In the second step, the reactive (hygroscopic) stabilizing agent PVPP (polyvinylpolypyrrolidone) is added, which binds trub substances to itself. This ensures the required long-term stability. In the third step, trap filtration takes place, during which mainly the PVPP enriched with the trub substances and any abrasion from the previous processes are retained.
From the managers' point of view, this last filtration stage should be renewed. The reason for this is because plate filters were used here and those require high cleaning and maintenance efforts as the large-format filter plates have to be removed and individually cleaned and reinstalled.
The tender for the project was won by Bucher Denwel spol.s.r.o., Prague, the Donaldson distributor for the Czech Republic . This is not surprising as the company is known as an engineering specialist in process and especially brewery technology.
The engineers at Denwel suggested the use of Donaldson process filters, with which they had had good experience many times in the past. This is also how the project was implemented. A maintenance-friendly stainless steel housing of the PF-EG series, which can be opened at the lower flange and at the housing cover, is equipped with thirty filter elements of the LifeTec PP 100 N series. These are 30" absolute depth filter elements made of pleated polypropylene (retention rate 99.98 % at 5 µm; 99 % at 1 µm ). The housing and the thirty filter elements are designed for a maximum flow rate of 600 hl/h (377 bl).
The new automated trap filter is integrated into the process control system which, among other things, continuously records the differential pressure. Sales Manager Marek Kucko: "This enables the brewery to integrate the filter into its predictive maintenance concept." Due to the closed system, we achieve a very high standard of hygiene and thanks to the automated cleaning including backwashing, a very high cleaning effect is achieved. In addition, the thorough and at the same time gentle automated backflushing creates the prerequisite for a long service life of the filter elements. The empirical values of this application show that a total filtration volume of 280,000 hl (176,115 bl) is achieved before the elements need to be replaced.
The plant has been in operation since December 2020. It is running to the satisfaction of the brewery management, especially since other advantages have materialized. Marek Kucko: "We have calculated and compared: The maintenance effort is 93 % lower. The filters are cleaned automatically, and if they need to be inspected, you don't need a crane because of the double housing opening."
When planning the piping, Denwel implemented a flexible solution at Budvar's request: "Initially, parallel operation of plate and LifeTec™ filter elements is still possible. But if required, Budvar can simply connect a second trap filter of the same design and then optionally operate it in parallel or - should cleanliness requirements increase - also in series."