Jeptha Creed Distillery

A family-owned craft distillery, Jeptha Creed Distillery was born out of the owners' background in farming and chemical engineering, and their desire to build a legacy. Holding true to its motto, “Don’t Forget Where You Came From,” the distillery uses old-fashioned brewing methods and locally-sourced ingredients, such as its signature Bloody Butcher corn, as well as berries, apples and mint grown on the 64-acre property. For more information, visit JepthaCreed.com

Challenge

Making spirits at the Jeptha Creed Distillery starts with creating the mash. The cooking process begins with grinding the corn, which is then heated in water to get the starches accessible, before adding a combination of wheat, rye and barley to convert the starches to sugars. Yeast is added to the product during fermentation, after which the product is distilled, a process which heats the product to a vapor in order to separate the alcohol from the flavor components. With large amounts of heat and steam used in the distillation process, the distillery had a great need for chilled water to cool the vapor to convert it back into liquid. “Our challenges were not so much with the HVAC needed for comfort cooling, but with the chilled water required for the distillation process,” said Joyce Nethery, owner, CEO and master distiller, Jeptha Creed Distillery. “We had some really big chilled water needs. We were looking for an economical way to cool the mash, and we needed to do it quickly, which meant a lot of BTU load.”

Solution

Knowing of Trane’s extensive work on the process cooling side of the distillery market and experience using thermal storage, the mechanical engineer working on the Jeptha Creed Distillery building design introduced Trane to the project. The Trane team began the process of selecting the right equipment to handle the distillery's process cooling needs, adhering to industry-specific process cooling requirements.

Determining the right equipment

Unlike an office building, hospital or school, in the distillery environment, Trane knew special consideration must be given to electrical classifications because of the product's potential flammability. In addition, the Trane team evaluated the facility’s chilled water demand needs, which fluctuate throughout the day due to the batch loading of the distillery process. With 40 to 60 percent of the distillery’s electricity bills coming from demand costs, Trane engineers sought to spread out the peak electrical loads of the chilled water system, instead of having 30-60 minute spikes throughout the day. Rather than looking at a single day of the distillery process, Trane analyzed an entire week to determine the right equipment sizing.

Shifting demand to reduce energy cost

A thermal storage system was implemented to shift demand from peak-load production process times to lower-cost, off-peak hours, significantly reducing energy demand costs. The system includes a Trane CGAM air-cooled chiller, two CALMAC® IceBank® energy storage tanks, and a custom-designed ice completion module with an all stainless steel pipe pump package. Running with glycol for freeze protection, the system converts from glycol to a chilled water system to serve distillery processes. The Trane chiller operates loaded most of the time when the distillation process is not running, building up ice in the storage tanks to provide capacity to handle the operation’s needs throughout the week. The ice cools the distillation process for one or two mashes a day, after which the tank is recharged. Instead of using a 200 to 250-ton chiller to handle the load that the process might require over a one-hour period, the thermal storage system spreads out demand loads, allowing the use of a smaller 40-ton chiller. The high-efficiency Trane CGAM chiller not only helps to lower energy use, but delivers the lowest noise levels in its class, providing a comfortable environment for workers and guests.

Commissioning for optimal flow

A Trane® Tracer™ SC building automation system (BAS) and a Tracer UC600 programmable unit controller were installed as part of the ice completion module. With remote access, Trane used the Web-enabled controls system during the start-up and commissioning phases to make small adjustments to frequency drives and differential pressure settings to balance the systems and get proper flows through the equipment, as the owners were going through initial production runs. Ongoing, the controls system will provide the distillery with visibility into chilled water process temperatures and pressures.

Results

Implementing a thermal storage system for process chilled water cooling has resulted in significant energy savings for the Jeptha Creed Distillery. The system has enabled the distillery to shift demand, allowing the use of a smaller 40-ton chiller combined with ice storage, instead of a larger 200 to 250-ton chiller to serve the distillery’s process needs. The result is an energy savings of $20,000-$30,000 a year. “The system provides the chilled water we need, when we need it, at the temperature we set," said Nethery. "There have been no delays in the process because we didn’t have chilled water. I don’t have to think about my chilled water; it is just there.”

 

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