Cellar cooling unit and beer cooler costs place a substantial demand on energy costs and outgoings. Other issues that exacerbate the situation are the downturn in the economy fuelled by rampant inflation. Post Covid and lockdowns have seen the craft brewery, micro brewery, tap room and hospitality industry ravaged and the recovery remains ongoing. This though now compounded by rising energy costs has seen operating costs rise, in some cases, 5 to 10 fold. Data from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) show that 53% of firms expect to stagnate, shrink or fold in the coming 12 months. Asides from the brewery industry, cafes, restaurants, shops, department stores and salons are all suffering.
Craft Brewery industry Closures in 2022 put at 80 breweries
In a letter to the Tory Party The Beer and Pub Association advised the inevitability of mass job losses to an industry employing 940,000 people. There are approximately 47,000 pubs in the UK and substantial numbers of tenants and landlords were handing in their notices due to spiralling costs. It’s worth remembering that businesses do not benefit from the price cap that householders do. The current support scheme for businesses is only 0.7p per kilowatt hour off of their gas bills and a 2p per Kwh reduction in electricity costs. Those ‘heavy usage’ industries such as steel will receive a larger discount. The Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) came into effect on 1 October 2022 ending 31 March 2023.
EBDS Support for wineries, Cider Makers and Brewers
The EBDS has now replaced the Energy Bill Relief Scheme. Those organisations and businesses eligible receive a discount from April 2023 to March 2024. Discounted energy prices will be used to calculate bills (subject to a maximum discount). Energy and Trade Intensive Industries (ETIIs) will receive a higher level of support. The discount though will only apply to 70% of energy volume. The maximum discounts and price thresholds for ETIIs are currently set at £89 per MWh for electricity (threshold of £185 per MWh) and £40 per MWh for gas (Price threshold of £99 per MWh). Particular references are:
11.02 Manufacture of wine from grape
11.03 Manufacture of cider and other fruit wines
11.05 Manufacture of beer
Beer Coolers and the benefits of a split Heat Dump system
To prioritise saving costs the remote beer cooler is a high demand unit together with the cellar cooling unit. Though worth bearing in mind the load from remote beer coolers will always rely on a cellar cooling system to remove the heat generated. Those beer coolers with an external heat dump are ideally suited to cost savings and Thermair, proportionately, are now selling a split of 50/50 to integral air cooled. That being for every 10 units sold 5 are a split system with a heat dump. A heat dump will remove the heat generated by the condensing unit (compressor/fan) to outside thus reducing heat gain within the cellar to a minimal/negligible amount.
Glycol heat dumps are energy efficient
It is, unfortunately, not possible to introduce a heat dump to an air cooled integral and it requires a complete replacement system. The difference being the glycol beer cooler does not have a fan and condensing unit. The means of heat exchange is achieved in 2 parts. Firstly the hot gas that leaves the compressor circulates via a plate heat exchanger. This is the primary means of how the hot (refrigerant) gas gives up its heat. The heat transfer is fully achieved by the secondary process whereby the glycol is pumped to the outside heat dump. This heat then discharged to atmosphere via the fan and heat dump matrix. Think of the heat dump as an external condensing unit.
Should I Turn My Beer Cooler off at night?
Do you need to keep a beer chiller on through the night between midnight and 8am? The answer is no. While this may well be a contentious topic Thermair have advised, supplied and installed hundreds of remote beer line coolers. Our technical expertise ensures our valued clients return time and time again. Bear in mind it takes a 1” ice cube upwards to an hour to melt in a 75f (24c) ambient. Remember the ice bank is there not only to retain the cooling medium (water) at just above freezing but also in the event of equipment failure. While your cellar cooling unit will maintain the cellar ambient ideally at 12c.
Beer Cooler Ice Bank Serves Two purposes
Therefore, we know we have a 65 litre tank (bath) capacity and an approximate 20>25kg ice bank. how long will this ice bank take to dissipate within a bath of water hovering above freezing, without the application of a detailed forensic and scientific analysis our experience tells us longer than 8 hours. Another question that may be raised is will the product spoil. The product itself is contained in hermetically sealed pipework from Keg to tap. It can therefore not spoil overnight and then only if the product is exposed to air.
The other popular misconception is a beer cooler or cellar cooling unit has to ‘work harder’ when switched back on. In respect of a beer cooler this is incorrect as the pressure within the refrigerant system will be commensurate with the relatively low temperature of the water bath (pressure/temperature relationship). Thermair introduce warm water to every refurbished beer cooler in order to confirm the integrity of the compressor. The warm water increases the pressure within the refrigerant system thus forcing the compressor to start under load.
What is A free Air Unit
A free air unit or ‘Free Air beer Cooler system’ is a unit that doesn’t require refrigerant and draws cold air in from atmosphere. A free air unit is therefore the source of energy saving ‘free air’ and/or ‘free cool air’. The JABC-1 free air beer cooler unit has 2 sensors. One sensor is used to determine the cellar temperature and should be ideally situated within the same, or as near to, area as the cellar cooling unit evaporator sensor. The second sensor measures ambient temperature and is located towards the rear of the unit/air damper. The free air unit asides from significant energy savings is easy to install requiring a 150mm diameter through the wall.
J E Hall Ambient Beer Cooler Free Air Unit Advantages
The J E Hall ambient beer cooler complements any existing cellar coooling unit from all of J E Hall, Marstair and Beermaster systems. The JABC unit will only operate if the ambient temperature falls to 8°C or below. If the ambient outside temperature exceeds 8°C then only the main cellar cooling unit will operate. Monthly running costs of cellar cooling systems can vary widely dependant on compressor size, efficiency and relying on the fact that the correct system was sized accordingly using a cellar cooler calculator. Therefore given the wide range of cellar coolers on the market it is safe to assume that monthly running costs are typically between £100>£150.
Given that the running cost of the J E Hall ambient beer cooler is £12 the initial outlay is recovered in a relatively short period of time. The free air unit does not need specialist installation such as an Fgas or REFCOM engineer as there is no refrigerant. However bear in mind that the cellar temperature sensor will need siting together with some initial set up procedures. Air throw should also be considered but this is a fairly straightforward exercise of measuring the cubic area of the beer cellar. This is then multiplied by a value between 6 and 10 (air changes/hour) to achieve a required figure in m³/h. The fan speed is accordingly set between 1 and 4.
CO2 Shortage Piles on the pressure
The price of CO2 has drastically risen following soaring natural gas prices and the closure of the UK’s main source of CO2 in August 2022 after plant owner CF Industries claimed production had become “uneconomical” due to the rising costs. The company similarly threatened to halt production of CO2 in Autumn 2021, forcing the government to temporarily cover the company’s operating costs to ensure the UK did not not suffer food shortages. While energy bills are expected to fall below £2,500 from July this is still well above £1,200 immediately prior to the energy crisis.
The rise in CO2 costs has further impacted the food and drink industry, the likely consequences and impact a shortage of beer and food. According to research by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), the cost of liquid CO2 has increased significantly by 3,000%, from £100 (2019) to £3,000 per tonne, threatening the UK’s food security. CO2 is critical to the food supply chain, used for carbonising beer as well as for humane slaughter of livestock and goods transportation. How CO2 is essential to, and impacts on, the beer processing and dispense industry is yet another burdensome cost. Regularly check your CO2 beer regulator for potential leaks and consider switching to air for your G56 beer pump units.
Cellar Cooling Unit Energy Saving Checklist
There are a number of ways to reduce cellar cooling unit costs as most illustrated need not be overly expensive. Considering an ambient beer cooler and beer coolers with extraneous heat dumps would be the major capital outlay. However asides from this, additional suggestions can be implemented at comparatively low cost. The savings that the ambient beer cooler offer may well cover the initial outlay through one Winter. Amending temperature settings on your DFX1 and DFX1-E controller and cleaning your condenser costs nothing.
Any work which involves access to live electrics must be carried out by a fully qualified electrician/trades person. Any work involving accessing, installing or commissioning a refrigeration system must be carried out by an FGas or REFCOM registered engineer.
(A) There are 4 condensing units within this image which are used as a representation as to how a blocked condenser affects operation adversely. Top left is an AF103 condensing unit (blocked), clockwise the next image is a Cornelius old style beer cooler with a blocked condensing unit. Clockwise the next image is a Cornelius HC coldflow illustrating a clear condenser that can be viewed behind the front panel grille, the final image is of a clear condensing unit serving an AF103 ice flaker.
(B) If Clearing a condensing unit with a hoover remember to use a soft brush attachment as the (condensing unit) fins are delicate aluminium foil.
(C) If clearing a condensing unit with compressed air remember to cover the condenser serving the cellar cooling unit with an old blanket or dust sheet especially near food preparation areas.
(D) Introducing compressed air directly in to a G56 pump, remember that G56 pumps are tested to 90psi. Do not exceed this pressure.
(E) Adjusting your Dixell DFX control is fairly straightforward and can save substantial energy costs. However if you are serving extra cold Lagers/Ciders or Stouts (Guinness) please ensure you are comfortable with this and you have access to back up in the event of equipment failure. Remember most craft beers leave the beer cooler typically at around 4c>6c.
(F) If you wish to reduce the mass of your ice bank there are two options. Either completely defrost the ice bank and/or defrost the immediate section where the sensor bulb securing piece is located.