Beer is an ancient drink and since it was first discovered, people have been trying to find better ways to make it. One of the current standard technologies used are the cylindroconical, stainless steel tanks (CCTs) which house the fermentation process, and while the design works well, it slows the brewing process for cleaning. Researchers at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen however have developed a new design which should greatly speed up production, while reducing lost beer and cutting cleaning costs.
The reason why current CCTs slow the process is that they have a single pipe for pumping fluids in and out. Once the fermentation is complete, the tanks have to be emptied and then cleaned, which takes time. What the researchers have done is added a central pipe to the center of the CCT, with an open bottom. This central pipe can be used to move the liquid from one CCT to another, allowing the fermentation process to continue in the second CCT. Such a design enables the fermentation process to be distributed across multiple tanks, and the yeast to be reused.
This continuous fermentation design will greatly increase a brewery's efficiency as less time will be needed to clean, and it will reduce energy peaks. The researchers have already filed for a patent and a small pilot plant is current running at the Research Center Weihenstephan.
Source: Technische Universitaet Muenchen