Integration of Solar Energy into the Pinch Analysis
An analysis of the thermal energy requirements for the food and beverage industry shows that heat is mainly used in low temperature applications (below 200°C). This means that a portion of the thermal requirements could be replaced with solar energy. In this way, food and beverage companies can, through process optimization and integration of renewable energy, reduce their greenhouse emissions!
The following example comes from a medium sized Scottish brewery, which was optimized with pinch analysis and had a solar thermal system integrated into their process. The brewing process is discontinuous and requires large amounts of thermal energy at relatively low temperature levels. The minimum energy requirements, taking into account the heat recovery, were identified with the Time Average and Time Slice Methods included in the PinCH software. After the energy optimization, the potential of an integrated solar thermal system was determined (40% of the hot utility demand) and the economic viability was calculated. In this case, due to the economic viability of solar thermal systems in Scottland, it was economically reasonable to implement approximately one third of the potential.
The composite curves for the brewing process are displayed in the following figure.