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Changing the Beer Filtration Process

Changing the Beer Filtration Process agri-food, AI, beer, Biodiversity, brewery, cloud solutions, Data, digital, Innovation & trends, supply chain, Sustainability, Waste reduction & valorisation, Water Food and Beverage Business

Diatomaceous earth, also known as kieselguhr, is a sedimentary rock made up of the fossilised remains of diatoms (a type of algae). It may not sound very quaffable, but thanks to its unique high porosity, it is widely used by the brewery industry as the de facto filter for beer products.

However, the conventional method of using diatomaceous earth for beer filtration is being challenged due to its environmental impact. According to industrial filtration specialist Pall Corporation, this method is energy-intensive, requires a high volume of water, and produces a lot of waste, making it environmentally unfriendly. As a result, the company is urging brewers to transition to newer membrane-based filtration systems.

The sustainability of the manufacturing process plays a crucial role in determining a brewer’s environmental footprint and is often overlooked by the average consumer. While packaging usually steals the focus when it comes to sustainability considerations in beer, Pall Corporation emphasizes the importance of sustainable manufacturing practices.

Diatomaceous earth has a unique structure that makes it an ideal filter for a host of liquids, including beer, wine, edible and non-edible oils, and even honey. However, its production process involves heat treatment at 900°C and requires a high volume of water, resulting in significant waste generation. This has led to concerns about the environmental impact and hazards for workers.

Pall Corporation stopped producing diatomaceous earth filters back in the early 2000s and focused its innovation efforts on crossflow membrane filtration for beer clarification, predicting the necessity to eliminate it in beer production. This move has been driven by the company’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving water and raw materials efficiency, and eliminating exposure to diatomaceous earth powder.

While the transition to membrane-based filtration systems may come with higher initial costs, the long-term benefits in terms of resource consumption and sustainability are significant. The food and beverage industry has seen a shift towards sustainability, driving the adoption of membrane-based filtration systems that are increasingly more sophisticated, automated, and reusable.

As a result, the beer industry is starting to see a shift away from diatomaceous earth-based filtration, with membrane-based filtration systems gaining traction. The move towards sustainability and innovation in beer filtration is gaining momentum, driving the adoption of more efficient and environmentally friendly filtration technologies.

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