Optimization Of Distillery Operations With Praj’s Technologies
Brugal & Co. is a well-known rum producer from the Dominican Republic. Brugal operates a molasses-based distillery located in San Pedro de Macoris. The distillery was looking at opportunities to improve several aspects of the operations, including fermentation and distillation efficiencies. The Praj's technology innovations improved the operations of the distillery and gave consistent product quality with a reduction of OpEx.
Brugal distillery targeted to improve the existing plant regarding product quality, production costs, and sustainability. The major areas of improvement identified were:
- Distillation efficiency
- Scaling issues in distillation.
- The biogas generated from the bio-methanation plant was sufficient only for 50% of the steam requirement, the other 50% coming from LNG which was available at a very high cost.
For its expertise in the industrial biotechnology domain, Brugal approached Praj for an efficient solution to address the pressing concerns. At first, Praj carried out a thorough technological and mechanical assessment of the facility as per the issues and challenges the distillery was facing. Praj experts studied the existing operation, mechanical condition of equipment, the possibility of using spare equipment and accessories, tentative locations for new equipment and piping, and every other detail that was important for the successful execution of the plant. Praj considered the audit findings, the client's opinions and needs, and local regulations while designing the solution. Eventually, Praj came up with an innovative process configuration proposal to deal with the challenges according to the following guiding principles:
- Use of already existing processes and equipment at their optimum
- Minimal addition of new equipment for cost control
- Smaller execution time with low impact on plant operations
- Complete solution per local norms with no compromise in product quality or production capacity
Based on these principles, a few modifications were carried out in the existing system as follows:
Fermentation: Praj outfitted the existing fermentation system with automated CIP system, which included new sophisticated cleaning nozzles. This new adaptation lowered the risk of bacterial contamination.
Distillation: The client has two existing distillation systems. Praj's team provided instrumentation and automation for close control of both systems. A new extractive distillation column was installed to enhance the quality of the product. One of the existing columns was converted to a recovery column to recover alcohol. Thermal integration was employed to reduce the energy for the system. A new fusel oil decanter was installed to remove fusel oils and improve the quality of the product. A reboiler with an advanced design is installed to reduce scaling issues in distillation. Finally, process parameters are managed in such a way as to reduce impure alcohol and increase throughput.
Benefits to the customer
With the help of comprehensive solutions provided by Praj, Brugal was able to increase the overall operational efficiency of the plant with enhanced product quality. A few of the key benefits are summarized below:
- ~ 25% reduction in natural gas consumption
- Reduced feedstock consumption
- Reduced freshwater consumption
The following table shows the efficiency improvement in the plant operations.
|1||Distillation efficiency||~95 %||>98 %|
|2||Steam Consumption||150 MT/day||110 MT/day|
With Praj’s technology solutions, Brugal was able to reduce overall energy and freshwater consumption. The process became more sustainable with enhanced product quality and the overall increase in efficiency of the plant operations.
“During all stages of the Project, Praj demonstrated a multidisciplinary approach that allow for better project delivery and a commitment to sustainability.
Praj’s team of experts demonstrated high professionalism and technical excellence, bringing innovative solutions to complex challenges. Their unique philosophy of achieving continue improvement makes it a leader in the industry” - Brugal & Co.