“ HOLLAND MALT project ” Superlative malthouse09.08.2006 Eemshaven on the shores of the North Sea, the Dutch brewery group Bavaria N.V. recently designed and constructed a large-scale malthouse based on the latest technological knowledge. Buhler was a major player in the project. The Dutch brewery group Bavaria N.V. with headquarters in Lieshout has been a loyal Buhler customer for over 50 years. Together, the two partners gradually increased Bavaria’s malting operation in Lieshout to its current annual output of about 150,000 metric tons of malt between the years 1971 and 1990. Today, three tower malthouses based on different process technologies stand in Lieshout. To them has been added the most recently built two-floor round kiln with a rotary kiln floor housed in a steel building.
New malthouse project
Bavaria has accumulated decades of practical experience operating malthouses based on different systems and sizes. This, in conjunction with the changing malt market, prompted the Bavaria management to construct a new large-scale malthouse for making export malt at a logistically strategic location. To also ensure easy supply of the necessary high-grade malting barley, Bavaria entered into a joint venture with the Dutch agricultural cooperative Agrifirm, a specialist in the field of barley growing. The site selected was the new North Sea port of Eemshaven. On the one hand, it is located near the barley growing areas, and on the other the port allows direct loading of the malt onto ships.
Before deciding on the concepts for the new malthouse, the Bavaria bosses toured Europe’s most up-to-date plant. This formed the basis for designing the new large-scale malthouse. In this, the specialists from Bavaria also applied their vast experience as brewers. For example, the facility includes modern wort separation processes and lauter tub designs for the new “Ecosteep” flat-bottom steep tank. The involvement of universities allowed also the technological issues of this new steeping method to be determined on the basis of simulations. The preparatory work for putting the new ideas into practice had thus been done.
Contract signed with Buhler
The newly established joint venture selected Buhler as the supplier of the complete bulk storage and malting technology. The proven collaboration between the respective experts from the Buhler Grain Handling and the Brewing/Malting business units allowed the customer to award the contract as a total project – from the flat barley store to the barley and malt conditioning sections to the vertical malt storage bins and the complete malthouse. In addition, the Bavaria management decided to apply one of the first Primus grain cleaners in the barley storage system for conditioning the malting barley and cleaning the malt before shipping. In designing the malthouse building, steel was given preference over concrete. One of the main reasons for this was sanitation, as the stainless steel construction ensures top standards especially in the germination units.
The design of the new malthouse of Holland Malt is based on two towers: Each malting tower contains an “Ecosteep” unit at the top for a batch size of 440 metric tons of barley. Below it are three germinating units with the same batch size. The bottommost section of the tower houses a single-floor kiln for half the production batch, which exchanges air with the kiln of the second tower. The decision to choose a rotary kiln was based on the previous experience of Holland Malt with stationary and rotary kiln decks. Compared to the stationary kiln floor, the rotary type offers the advantage of producing very uniform germination. This is because the kiln deck rotates endlessly and therefore prevents differences in quality. Moreover, as a result of the fixed arrangement of the screw turner and of the loading and unloading unit, contamination underneath the kiln deck is much lower than with a stationary floor. This results in a maximum degree of sanitation even in this critical zone of the germination process. The installation of the equipment and system components placed special demands on the structural strength and the design of the steel building. The prefabricated parts of the steel building itself were delivered by sea and installed element by element.
Water conservation thanks to Ecosteep
The “Ecosteep” system made its global debut in this plant. Unlike conventional flat-bottom steeping systems, it slashes water consumption by about 30 percent. Moreover, the clearance below the kiln which is a critical cleaning area has been eliminated. Air and water are fed through uniformly configured nozzles. Gentle screw conveyors spread and discharge the material. As “Ecosteep” works with only a low depth of material, very uniform malt qualities are achieved. The new malthouse operated by the Bavaria Group went into service in the summer of 2005. This unique, state-of-the-art malthouse produces some 137,000 metric tons of malt a year and sets new standards in terms of process technology and engineering in the field of malthouse design.
The Dutch Bavaria brewery can look back on a long history. The first Bavaria beer was brewed in 1719. Today, the listed large-scale brewery employs almost 1,000 persons in its various breweries. In fiscal 2004, Bavaria sold about 4.7 million hectoliters of beer. Of this, 2.7 million were exported to about 82 countries across the globe. In 2004, beer sales accounted for 76 percent of the Group’s total sales of 350.5 million euros. The balance was generated by soft drinks (15%) and malt (9%). Bavaria N.V. holds a 57 percent stake in the Holland Malt malthouse, which produced 160,000 metric tons of malt in 2004.