The Phoenix Rises in Dublin

Fermentation Vessels

Wishing to consolidate its brewing operations at St James's Gate in Dublin 8, Ireland, Diageo recently invested €169 million in the world-famous home of Guinness. Knowing that sustainability and investment are key elements of long-term success, the site is now one of the most technologically advanced and environmentally sustainable breweries in the world.

To enhance the production of Guinness Flavour Extract (GFE), which is exported all over the world to enable the local production of Guinness, Project Phoenix involved the implementation of new raw material intake and handling systems, a new brewhouse, a new cold process area as well as modifications to the existing cold process area to integrate the existing plant with new, significantly improved utilities and expanded capacity. GEA’s scope involved the new cold process area, to update the existing cold process area and the cold end of the new GFE process, and incorporate new brands into the St James’s Gate portfolio with additional processing equipment.

Organization by GEA

To kick-start the project, GEA took on most of the design and procurement work for the new cold process area and provided a team of engineers who tackled the site installation work, commissioning and validation, as well as the modifications. Local GEA experts also took responsibility for the overall site management, including the co-ordination of installation and commissioning activities, liaising with the civil contractors and ensuring compliance with the site’s rigorous health and safety requirements. The schedule was aggressive: design work started in July 2012; the first new vessels were installed in February 2013; and the cold process area received its first wort from the new brewhouse in August that year.

New Cold Process Area: Our scope

Within the existing cold process area, GEA designed and supplied a wide range of equipment and services, from installation to validation, including two new wort mains and a Clean-in-Place (CIP) supply line. Eight existing vessels were converted for use as ale and lager storage vessels, to which new glycol cooling/CO2 circuits with steam filters and CIP return valves were installed and connected.

In addition, an existing maturation vessel was modified for use as a deaerated liquor (DAL) storage vessel and two new carbon water treatment columns were installed to replace existing units. Modifications were also made in two tanker bays and a yeast propagation vessel to facilitate CIP, incorporating three new chemical concentrate pumping stations and distribution lines.

A series of alterations was made to the valves on 21 fermenting vessels, including the replacement of existing relief valves, new valves to facilitate the temporary changeover from the existing brewhouse to the new one (wort lines and CIP) and new valve arrangements that re-routed the brewery’s bright beer tanks through the filter system.

The new cold process area, situated adjacent to the existing cold block, now boasts 19 new fermentation vessels and eight new maturation/storage vessels for ale and lager. The vessels are positioned in a tank support frame with cooling sections vented to the tank top, insulation and cladding. The tank top cover was prepared for GEA valve and instrument installation and the vertical tank outlet flange connects to an ECO-MATRIX® valve assembly. Furthermore, special equipment required to produce Budweiser was also installed and fitted. New yeast propagation and ale/lager storage vessels were also placed in the new cold process area, along with a ceramic membrane filtration-based beer recovery system. Finally, two new tank/line cleaning CIP stations were integrated into the new cold process area, as well as separate CIP skids for the filtration and stabilization plants.

Beverage Blending Agent Project

Key to the St James’s Gate expansion was establishing a new Guinness Flavour Extract (GFE) concentrate plant (known as the beverage blending agent or BBA plant). To complete the project, GEA mounted a stainless steel pipe rack and walkway around the CIP, DAL and ullage tanks and positioned eight customer-supplied vessels, including three storage vessels and five bright beer tanks, on the west side of the BBA building. The work consisted of connecting pipework to the vessel outlets and CIP connections. GEA tank top equipment was installed to ensure vessel protection.

A number of new tanks were supplied by GEA, including four CIP tanks, a buffer recirculation tank, a minor ingredients tank and a DAL tank. Prefabricated plant elements, such as heat exchanger skids and valve manifolds, were put in place, as well as pumps, instruments, valves and smaller miscellaneous equipment, and all the interconnecting CIP and utility piping was made good. Control systems, remote I/O panels, valve cabinets and electrical connection (power, controls and pneumatics) for the newly installed equipment were fitted and tested. Finally, a pasteurizer and associated equipment (holding tubes, a buffer vessel, an IBC filler and conveyor, and two ullage tanks) from Diageo’s Waterford Brewery was reinstalled to complete the BBA project. 

Additional brewing capacity

Following the completion of the new cold process area, Diageo decided to expand the site’s storage capacity and incorporate six new storage vessels. Once again, GEA was tasked with the design, equipment supply, installation, commissioning and validation of the new vessels (issued and positioned by the client) for the project.

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