Natural gas fired boiler installed at SAB plant

The South African Breweries (SAB) commenced a programme between 2012 and 2013 to reduce its carbon footprint and emissions. The main objective was to cease the use of coal fired boilers. SAB substituted their coal fired boilers by installing two new natural gas fired boilers and converting two coal-fired boilers to natural gas with energy savings of between 13 and 32%.

Natural gas was chosen because it is one of the least contaminated fuels used for boiler operation. It does not generate any dirty emissions or cause an unpleasant odour when burning. It is an eco-friendly alternative. This type of gas is steady and reliable, supply is seldom disturbed, even when demand is high, unlike electricity or oil. Natural gas is a convenient fuel for boiler purposes, it needs no storage tank on premises for reserve gas supplies.

Fig. 1: A view of the twin-furnace boiler.

Natural gas is not only friendly to the atmosphere, it is also economical to use. It is one of the most inexpensive fuels available, compared to fuels such as oil which are subject to market fluctuations. The twin furnace boiler (Fig. 1), the type installed at SAB’s plant, is ideally suited for large applications. This type of boiler can be equipped with super-heaters to produce very high energy. The boiler was supplied by Combustion Technology and the burners by Limpsfield Combustion Engineering, an industrial burner manufacture supplying bespoke high efficiency burners for a variety of applications, from industrial to water tube boilers, commercial fire tube boilers to ovens and furnaces. Efficiency, performance, low emission and fuel saving are what makes their range of burners stand out in combustion field.

Fig. 2: SAB’s twin-furnace boiler.

Equipment supplied:

  • LC44 burner to  produce 5 t/h steam with multi-fuel burner – firing Natural Gas and Biogas (produced in brewery) (simultaneous firing)
  • LC88X2  – Twin furnace boiler to produce 20 t/h of steam
  • LC200 burner –  to produce 25 t/h steam
  • Autoflame MK7 touchscreen Micro Modulation burner and boiler control
  • Autoflame DTI (Data Transfer Interface) control  panel for complete integration with site BMS via Modbus and Ethernet
  • Autoflame EGA – exhaust gas analyser and trimming system.
  • Three-parameter (O2, CO, CO2) combustion trim for improving efficiency and to in increase plant safety.
  • CEMS software for continuous emissions monitoring and data logging

Benefits of installing a natural gas fuelled boiler

The brewery has improved from 175 to 154 MJ/HI  to 105 to 99 MJ/HI – approximately 32% with an increase in boiler efficiency by approximately 13%.  With less than 3% O2 levels through the compete firing range and CO less than 10 ppm with a significant reduction in maintenance costs.

Fig. 3: Another view of the boiler.

Additional benefits include:

  • Consistently meeting air quality regulations
  • Quieter boiler house
  • New plant provides quick reaction to plant load and allows for easy maintenance
  • Much cleaner boiler house and happy people

Leroy Crawford, SAB Rosslyn’s project engineer, says the installation of the natural gas boiler has proven to be the most energy efficient, cost effective and eco-friendliest alternative for the company.

Contact Grant Renecle, Combustion Technology, Tel 021 715-3171,

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