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3 Ravens Brewery, Melbourne – Australia

3 Ravens Brewery, established in 2003 and located in Thornbury, Australia has embarked on a clean energy transition, to achieve this goal, they have installed a series of technologies, including a heat pump for cooling and a solar photovoltaic system. 

This investment will enable them to increment their production by 400% without increasing energy consumption or emissions, while optimizing the facility’s energy management to minimize damage to the environment and maximize benefits to the community. 

The beginning 

3 Ravens has always been an exclusively electric brewery, but its old processes were not very efficient. The site had several obsolete R22 reverse cycle electric split systems for cooling the rooms and was looking for a better solution than upgrading the business-as-usual (BAU) equipment to cope with the expected higher volumes. Continuing with the existing equipment would have increased the brewery’s energy costs, as well as requiring an expensive upgrade of the site’s electrical capacity. In addition, maintaining BAU equipment would have created a significant problem with HVAC equipment, as the phase-out of harmful R22 refrigerants is continually progressing.  

The Enex CO2 chiller heat pump in the brewing hall. Photo credit: 3 Ravens/Regenerate Engineering 

The problem 

Breweries typically have chillers with glycol tanks for storage, but the heat produced by these chillers is a trouble rather than a useful resource. Heating processes have rarely been integrated with cooling in brewing until now. Heat pump systems usually work best in a constant state, while brewing is a discontinuous process. However, by focusing on system flexibility, redundancy, increased storage, and better utilization of heat exchangers, 3 Ravens aims to automate brewing and maximize energy efficiency.  

By not replacing the actual equipment of 35 kW of R22 HVAC, 3 Ravens will potentially contribute to add a significant amount of high GWP refrigerants in the environment as shown in the table 45below:  

Refrigerantkg R-gas IPCC GWP Persistence (years) Split
Split1R2241760127,040
Split 2R223,91760127,040
Chiller 1R438a10226519,922,650
Chiller 2R404a1039224038,220
Total GWP76,090

The request 

3 Ravens and Regenerate Engineering looked beyond just technological fixes to consider how the approach to the brewing process could also be adjusted to get the most out of the new equipment and maximize energy productivity for the business while decreasing their GWP.  

A proposal has been made to replace separate heating and cooling processes with a single-cycle CO2 chiller with advanced heat extraction, also known as chiller heat pump. This would efficiently combine both processes and extract the necessary heat from the cooling functions. By utilizing waste heat from the cooling supply, the need for new heat would be avoided.  

The study 

To determine the feasibility of this proposal, an extensive study was completed with the support of ARENA and A2EP. The study included a detailed analysis of the mass/energy balance of the process and outlined how the proposed equipment could be integrated into the existing plant, along with the necessary upgrades that would be required.  

By incorporating this technology, the brewery aims to improve the efficiency of their brewing processes and reduce energy waste caused by excess heat. 

The Solution 

The need to have a chiller heat pump operating in: transcritical (TC) and subcritical (SC) modes. makes storage crucial to prevent the unit from shutting down when more heating is required. 

In order to make the energy upgrade possible, 3 Ravens had to install new technologies, such as a 45 kW variable duty Enex CO2 chiller with advanced heat extraction, consisting of a heat pump that can switch between SC and TC modes, an external adiabatic Enex gas cooler to complete the CO2 cycle and an additional heat exchanger to catch and use the medium-temperature heat flow for HVAC purposes if required, but also had to optimize and renew its distribution and air handling systems.

At the brewery, from left: Max Hart (Hospitality Manager, 3 Ravens), Bill Armstrong (Production Manager, 3 Ravens), Jon Fettes (Regenerate Engineering). Photo credit: 3 Ravens/Regenerate Engineering. 

The Results 

As of June 2023, the new system has been commissioned. It will be closely monitored and as 3 Ravens adjusts to the new system, tweaks and adjustments will be made. It is anticipated that the impact of the system will be a huge improvement in energy productivity for 3 Ravens, with estimates included below.  

2020
(baseline) 
2023-2024
(baseline) 
2025-2026
(baseline) 
Brewing and cold storage energy consumption (kWh) 170.000165.000230.000
HVAC energy consumption (kWh) 22.0008.0008.000
Brewery production (litres) 250.000500.0001.000.000
Solar PV generation (kWh) 88.00088.000
Solar PV self-consumption (%) 0%75%85%
Energy consumption from the grid (in kWh) 200.000110.000190.000
Emissions (tonnes of CO2) at 2023 EF 184101175
Emissions per 250ml beer (grams CO2-e) 1845144
% Energy saved per beer 73%76%

The energy upgrade influenced various non-energy benefits, including more comfort and improved ventilation within the facility. It also resulted in a reduced liability for the release of climate-damaging refrigerants, enhanced brewing automation, increased brewing throughput, and positively impacted marketing and brand strategy. 

“It feels really good to be doing our bit to help fight the climate crisis and to be leading the way in renewable energy innovation in our industry. Sustainability has always been high on our business agenda, and we’re thrilled to finally see our beer powered brewery come to life,” said Nathan Liascos, General Manager of 3 Ravens. 

Luis Crespo, President of the Commercial Refrigeration & HVAC businesses units of Enex technologies added: “Our mission is to support the global energy transition while making our customers successful.  The 3 Ravens Brewery is a very good example of how we can make the difference when partnering with our clients and distributors to identify the business needs and offer tailored made sustainable and innovative solutions.” 

Let us know if you want to know more about Enex technology solutions to significantly decrease the emissions of your business. 

FRANCISCO VALLINA

Vice Chairman Enex Industrial

  • Joined ENEX Technologies from EOS Refrigeration in 2023, where he was founder & CEO
  • More than 30 years’ experience in the Refrigeration sector as a managing director and then founder of a leading ammonia refrigeration OEM, generating more than 30% annual growth
  • Launched several innovative products focused on energy efficiency and environmental sustainability
  • Obtained an Engineering degree from UPC – Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona
FABRICE SEGURA

CEO, Heat Exchangers, Enex Technologies

  • Based in Treviso, Italy
  • Joined Roen Est in 2020 as Chief Operating Officer
  • 20 years’ experience in operations, lean manufacturing, product commercialization and supply chain with Danfoss and Rivacold
  • Earned a degree in Engineering from the University of Saint Etienne in France
LUIS CRESPO BARBER

CEO, Commercial Refrigeration and Enex HVAC

  • Joined Enex Technologies from Carrier, where he was Managing Director, Commercial HVAC Europe
  • More than 20 years’ experience in the HVAC sector leading transformation, with a track record of significantly improving the financial performance of the businesses he leads
  • Earned a degree in Economics Business and Administration at Universidad Complutense
  • Completed programs at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and IESE Business School
SERGIO GIROTTO

Founder, COO and Honorary President, Enex Srl

  • Earned a Mechanical Engineering degree from Padova University
  • Based in Padernello (TV), Italy
  • Founded Enex Srl in 2004 to design and develop high efficiency refrigeration systems using natural refrigerants with low global warming potential, revolutionizing the industry
  • Authored 16 industry papers including two international peer-reviewed journals
  • Awarded 17 patents for technological innovations that continue to advance the efficient application of CO₂ refrigeration systems in all climates