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O-6. A novel method for reduction of carbon dioxide consumption during can seaming process

Presenter: Yasunori Tanaka, Kirin Brewery Company, Limited, Yokohama, Japan

While tackling individual environmental issues such as reducing CO2 emissions, Kirin has been constantly reminded that maintaining environmental sustainability, along the Kirin Group’s value chain, has much to do with the continuity of society and of our business. Canned beer products were introduced into Japanese market in the 1970s. The can share has increased year by year, and these days it reaches around 70–80% of the market. As for Kirin Brewery production, 70% of the products are canned beer, and more than half of the CO2 consumption in the whole brewery is used for can production. We have developed technologies such as CO2 usage efficiency improvements in the can-filling process, but a further effort has been demanded to achieve the CO2 reduction target the Kirin Group is aiming for. Therefore we decided our next target area will be the seaming process. To prevent product oxidation, a huge volume of CO2 is purged to exclude O2 from the headspace of the liquid after beer filling and just before seaming, and this process has been controlled basically only through the CO2 flow rate. We successfully reduced CO2 usage by heating it in the supply line according to the combined gas law. As gas density is decreased by heating, the mass (weight) of CO2 could be reduced in the same gas flow volume as CO2 itself. CO2 temperature was controlled below the heat resistance of any parts of the supply line, thus we could construct this system only through the installment of a heating device. We also observed that headspace O2 became lower under high-temperature CO2 purging conditions. It is thought that headspace O2 also heated, and it seemed to be effective in reducing O2 density. None of the other concerns, such as odor, packaging duration, and seaming performance, were observed. This new method was able to reduce approximately 20% O2 usage in the can seaming process without any changes in beer quality and packaging performance.

After graduation from Ukiha technical high school in Fukuoka, Japan, Yasunori Tanaka joined Kirin Brewery and worked in the packaging area of the Fukuoka brewery from 1994 through 2009. He has developed his expertise especially in canning operations, including quality control, quality assurance, and efficient production. He was involved in the Fukuoka brewery renovation project in 2006. He moved to the Technical Development Department in 2009 and has been working on can material weight reduction and CO2 reduction in can fillers and seamers.

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