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Beer Filtration with ECLIPSE MEMBRANES™

Porous PTFE Membranes for Beer Filtration

In the beer industry, the vast majority of the final filtration operations are performed by kieselguhr filtration (diatomaceous earth) employing filter presses or other supported fabric filters on which the kieselguhr would be deposited.


The use of kieselguhr is becoming more problematic for the breweries with each passing year. Several tons of wet (soaked with beer) kieselguhr is discharged from a typical brewery on a daily basis, and must be disposed of in a landfill, used as fertilizer, incinerated, or otherwise disposed of. Besides the logistical issues, the cost, the disposal cost, and environmental issues, the brewery loses a significant volume of good product with the disposal of the kieselguhr.


The driving force for moving to membrane systems is high, but there are significant technical hurdles to overcome as there are higher solids levels to contend with, significantly more gel-like substances to filter out, and a far more elaborate and aggressive cleaning cycle. The difficulties with failure, cleaning, etc found in the wine industry are even greater in the beer industry due to the greater number of things that need to be removed. Besides fine particles, there are proteins, portions of yeast cells, etc that are difficult to clean with a single cycle. Multiple cleaning cycles result in very early failure of existing membrane systems.


Ceramic membranes are used for bottoms recovery. The lumens are typically larger diameter, 8 mm or so, and the liquid rather thick. Ceramic membranes are costly, fragile, and difficult to work with.  Synthetic membranes (polymeric membranes) are used for bulk filtration but only in limited applications.  There may be only presently 5% of breweries that employ membrane filtration for bulk filtration.


These technical hurdles create opportunities for PTFE hollow fiber membranes. The advantages offered by PTFE for service temperature and chemical resistance make it ideal to accommodate the frequent and aggressive cleaning cycles required for a membrane filtration process in a brewery. The ability to produce porous PTFE membranes in diameters from as small as 700 microns to as large as 16 – 18 mm can accommodate the full range and scope of solids levels at various filtration stages.  Finally, the robust module design and potting system will ensure the module retains its integrity for many years, resulting in a cost effective filtration solution.

beer filtration with porous ptfe membranes