West / Regional Reports

Hybrid Solar Thermal System Enables Brewing of 'Green Beer'

December 26, 2011
KEYWORDS boiler / solar
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SEATTLE — Net Zero Impact has begun installation of a hybrid solar-thermal system at Hale’s Ales, the company’s largest and most sophisticated solar project to date. Located in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, the project kicked off with the lowering of a 1,200-gallon storage tank through a temporary opening in the brewery’s roof.

Hale’s Ales expects to save approximately $15,000 per year on natural gas costs. The system will supply 3,000 to 4,000 gallons of solar-heated water per day for various brewing processes, radiant heating for the building, and use by the adjoining Hale’s Pub. Over the next 25 years, the solar technology is expected to prevent 3.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

The new solar-thermal investment is one of several sustainable initiatives Hale’s Ales has implemented. Other green efforts include use of high-efficiency light bulbs throughout the 17,000-square-foot facility and smart technology to manage the building’s lights and heating and cooling systems.

The Net Zero Impact system, replacing an inefficient gas-fueled steam boiler, includes:

• 480 solar thermal tubes manufactured by Kingspan Solar;

• A 1 million British thermal unit (MBtu) steam boiler;

• A 1 MBtu high-efficiency hot water boiler;

• A 1,200-gallon water storage tank; and

• Heat exchangers and programmable controllers for all pump delivery systems.

“We’ve spent 27 years serving the community with the very best hand-crafted beers possible and making our operations greener is just another way of giving back to our community,” said Mike Hale, founder and president of Hale’s Ales. “Net Zero Impact’s experience working with breweries, exceptional warranty and ability to implement an extremely complex design made it an easy choice to work with the company.”

Kingspan solar thermal tubes transform direct and diffuse sunlight — solar radiation available even on cold, cloudy or humid days — into useful heat in the form of hot water, capturing the sun’s energy, a critically important advantage in the Pacific Northwest’s frequently sun-starved environment.

Inside each Kingspan Solar air evacuated tube, solar radiation is collected, concentrated, and transferred to an insulated manifold. Super-heated water is then pumped through a heat exchanger to Hale’s 1,200-gallon storage tank. Kingspan’s patented technology for controlling heat in this process is credited for the system’s long production life and 25-year warranty.

“Northwest brewers have an acute need for hot water and have been early adopters of our hybrid solar thermal technology,” said Barry Andersen, CEO, Net Zero Impact LLC. “We proved the value of the Net Zero Impact system with our installation at Big Al Brewing earlier this year and now, with Hale’s, we’re demonstrating that it works on a large scale.”

For more information, visit www.netzeroimpact.com.

Publication date: 12/26/2012

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