How to reduce emissions with Brambati catalytic converters


Brambati talks about improving key elements of the roasting process so that companies can make significant cost savings and emission reductions.

Italian roaster manufacturer Brambati has always looked for roasting innovations to help drive the company forward during its long history in the roasting business.

“We have constantly focused on the environment and sustainability, so for us, all the developments we have made to the roasting system have always been in this area. We are improving our roaster’s emissions reduction results and doing this in two different ways,” says Dr Fabrizio Brambati, President and CEO of Brambati. “On the consumption side, we have been working to reduce the consumption of energy and gas, and on the other side, we have been working to have maximum control of emissions.”

Brambati has always invested in the development of new technologies to improve the efficiency of its plants. In the past decade, the company has invested in research and development of increasingly high-performance emission abatement systems that can meet the most restrictive requirements.

Its ongoing study has been done with the aim of creating an energy-saving roasting system in collaboration with the University of Pavia in Lombardy, Italy, based on artificial intelligence to optimise the production of roasted coffee while reducing environmental impact.

In addition, each Brambati roaster, including its popular KAR and BR series in Eco models, can be fitted with an ECO afterburner to reduce emissions into the atmosphere, and control power and gas consumption.

Brambati roasters can also be fitted with a catalytic converter. The manufacturer has different types, including metallic, which Brambati says guarantees mechanical strength, and ceramic, that allows easy cleaning. This can be used depending on the required abatement levels on volatile organic substances (V.O.S.), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), aldehydes, and odours.

Catalysts are also used to improve the efficiency of systems in which the roaster exhaust is ducted to the burners that heat the roaster. When particulate matter is a concern, some roasters prefer to use Recuperative Thermal Oxidisers (RTOs), which Brambati says is a more efficient way to deal with the problem. RTOs take the volatile organic matter and other air pollutants and pass the harmful air pollutants through a combustion chamber where it is heated until oxidised. This is usually done at very high temperatures to ensure all pollutants have been neutralised.

“You have to oxidise the organic compounds and an RTO can recover up to 95 per cent of the energy used to reach those high temperatures,” says Federico Filini, Project Manager and R&D engineering at Brambati.

By concentrating on what temperature the catalytic converters begin to do their work, the company says there are ways to neutralise pollutants at a far lower temperature, thus keeping energy costs down and having a positive environmental impact.

The catalytic converter is already active from 300°C, allowing the use of afterburners of reduced size and power. This guarantees a less expensive investment and some of the lowest energy consumption levels. It’s for this reason Brambati has actively collaborated with some of the largely global coffee companies.

“If you have an afterburner working with catalytic converters, we have different types of afterburner that absorb the exhaust, for example, with an increase in temperature of 150°C compared to the roaster exhaust temperature,” says Filini.

“In some countries, for example, afterburners are used at a very high temperature of somewhere near 760°C. Therefore, with an increase in temperature of about 550°C compared to the roaster exhaust temperature, you can imagine how much you are saving in energy working with an afterburner that uses a catalytic converter instead of a high-temperature converter.”

Filini proposes that energy can be saved by layering the catalytic converters to begin working at lower temperatures and monitoring the emissions, rather than relying only on high temperatures. Thanks to this process, Brambati says it can maintain abatement levels below the most restrictive requirements applied in Italy, the European Union, and generally in more than 50 countries worldwide where Brambati’s systems are used.

Abatement efficiency levels on S.O.V and CO can be up to 98 per cent, while allowing NOx concentration levels to be kept below 100 milligrams per cubic meter. This is even when roasting with very dark roast profiles.

Brambati’s equipment is also portable and easy to install. The catalytic plates are modular and small in size, allowing for easy removal and handling. Brambati’s afterburner and catalytic converters can be placed on top of the roaster, on the ground or on a factory roof.

“This is very important because we can achieve the same quality of results while also trying to understand the logistic needs of the customer,” says Brambati.

All of Brambati’s efficiency tests take place on a small roaster in Brambati’s pilot plant where it is possible to control the tests and make sure that the reduction in energy usage does not mean any loss in quality for the coffee roast. GCR

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This article was first published in the July/August 2022 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.

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