Fabio Sansovini- Project manager, Frilli srl

  • Speaker Bio:

    Fabio Sansovini is consultant with Frilli srl, where hold the position of Project Manager.

    Graduated in Chemical Engineering in Rome University in 1978, worked for CTIP, as process engineer for petrochemical plant design.

    Since 1986 is working in the ethanol plant design, for company involved in such field .

    He has collaborated with  Frilli Costruzioni Industriali, Frilli Engineering, Green Engineering and Frilli srl  covering successively  the positions of Process Manager and Project Manager.

    Presentation Title:

    The Hot Water Discovery

    Presentation Synopsis:

    During the last years spirit consumption has been increased all over the world, especially in the emerging countries. Particularly the Whisky consumption grew up with double-digit percentage, creating a real race of traditional producers to increase the production capacity. Some blenders became distillers by securing most of sales volumes through the development of new distilleries.
    With the increase of production capacity, most of producers, bonded to their brands, haven’t thought to make a big technological improvement of the production, but have chosen to “replicate the existing”. This choice is understandable by considering the waiting period of minimum 3 years (in many case up to 10) to sell what is produced; on the other side, for all other producers the range of choices is much wider.
    For “new” producers, starting now to realize a distillery, there are two ways: to be first whisky producers allowing tourists to visit their own distilleries, or to be touristic attractions, which produce whisky. Both ways are extremely correct, but there must be a choice.
    FRILLI SRL applies to both categories of “new” producers with its own technological competences and style.
    By the production side, both choices share the same modern challenge of whisky industry: that is the reduction in fossil fuels consumption, consequently translated into an energy consumption optimization.
    In particular, where a thermic utilization is required, the main points are Malt Mashing, Distillation and eventually Co Product Treatment, according to the kind of distillery.

    Distillation is the phase of the process requiring most of thermal energy necessary to heat and boil a fermented raw material.
    FRILLI SRL has studied, simulated, designed, manufactured and tested a process configuration based on overall energy saving of the production plant, with particular attention to the and cyclicality of the various production processes, which have big fluctuations, because of their discontinuous nature.
    The study starts from the analysis of the minimum energy required for the distillation process, generally in the form of steam. Then it’s necessary to see where this same energy can be recovered and used for further “services”. The key concept is that the energy required to distill cannot be decreased, but it’s possible to use it more times by changing it into an exploitable form for more times. Now the attention goes to the vapors condensation phase, which must respect some parameters determining the quality of distillate, such as materials, vapors distribution and temperatures. By an analysis of condensation process it’s possible to notice when a hot stream (alcoholic vapors) “simply” transfers energy in form of heat to a colder liquid (cooling water), changes its own phase from gaseous to liquid and is cooled to the suitable temperature. Thus, most of energy necessary for the distillation, given in form of steam, is transferred to the cooling water, which is generally circulating in a closed circuit or is lost. This is the key issue of the whole process: instead of disposing energy in the cooling water, this can be recovered in the form of “hot water” generated at various temperatures and phases, respecting all of the cyclicality of the production process.
    The first action considered, studied and used is the production of more “steam” with hot condensation water. This is possible by introducing a Thermic Vapor Compressor (TVR), exploiting the Venturi effect created by the passage of boiler steam, which creates a vacuum and thus lets the hot water change its phase from liquid to gaseous. The steam saving resulted from this usage changes according to steam pressure and compressor typology.
    The second phase is the study of energy still available in form of hot water, which can be used in further executions. It consists in the maximization of the pre-heating phase of liquids to be distilled, by integrating the traditional heating with pot ale and clear stillage with the hot water.
    After the second phase there is still residual energy available and usable during the malt mashing phase, by optimizing the classic mashing water heating by means of recovering the hot wort (water produced by malt washing) cooling water. This usage is not considered in the energy balance, but the required energy for the so-called “second and third water”. With this system designed and tested, the thermic balance has been closed.
    Not even now the recovered energy has run out, even if its quantity has changed a lot, according to the distillation applied (double or triple) and to the thermal compressor used on one or two stills.
    The study and its usage allow to FRILLI engineers to have a critical view both on the process and on the integration/optimization of the various production cycles, in order to determine “what, when and where” for the whole process.
    The usage of the above mentioned concepts is adaptable and extremely flexible. This fact makes it suitable to any kind of whisky distillery, with any kind of production system and regardless of working times. The distillery, which is bonded to the traditions, has the chance to improve the pre-heating system of liquids to distill (wash and low wine) and to consider whether to close the thermic gap in the malt mashing process (lautering). The big distillery has the possibility to choose to insert the thermic compressor (TVR) on one or both stills (Wash and Spirit). In case of a flow-sheet with triple distillation, FRILLI technology is able to recover from the process so much energy as to enable a co-product treatment plant (spent wash) to work almost “free of charge”, to produce animal feed, pot ale syrup, and to get value added from waste.