Italy inaugurates world's first brewery using hydrodynamic cavitation

Francesco Meneguzzo interviewed by Italy's public broadcasting service during the inauguration of world's first brewey using hydrodynamic cavitation24-May-2018- Italy inaugurated today the world's first brewery using hydrodynamic cavitation (watch the video and photogallery).

Called "the technology which is about to revolutionize beer-making" by MIT Technology Review in 2016, the new technology has been developed by a joint team of Italy's Research Council led by physicist Francesco Meneguzzo and subsequently transferred by Italy's RC to an Italian enterprise.

The latter enterprise has realized and installed the new brewing plant at San Gimignano Brewery, a company making organic beers starting from local ancient grains.

Compact -- the first industrial system has a 1,200 liter capacity -- easily managed and flexibly adapted to any beer recipes, the new cavitation-based plant entirely replaces the existing technologies, unvaried since several centuries. Now, malt and grains are introduced as such because cavitation pulverizes them rapidly, whereas biling of the most is no longer required.

All crucial processes taking place during conventional boiling -- from microbiological control to loss of dimethylsulfide through alpha-acid and arome extraction from hops -- now take place at temperatures below 100 °C.

Thereby, the new process halves the production time and almost halves the enery requirements affording a beer which is richer in health beneficial susbtances such as prenylflavonoids, of longer duration and greatly reduced gluten content.

The new process, furthermore, reduces the repetitive steps of the conventional brewing enabling brewers to create new recipes by which new beers are continuously produced and marketed to meet the increasing demand of high-quality craft beers of different taste.

With a market of over 200 billion liter and turnover exceeding $593 million in 2017, beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world. Generally prepared using four basic ingredients -- malted cereal grains, hops, water, and yeast -- beer is a refreshing fermented beverage whose origin dates to the early neolithic period.

The market is projected to exceed $685 million by 2025.

A technology developed in Italy between Tuscany and Sicily

In the inaugural study published in 2015 in Energy Science & Engineering the joint team comprised of Lorenzo Albanese and Francesco Meneguzzo in Florence along with Rosaria Ciriminna and Mario Pagliaro in Palermo demonstrated the energy efficient inactivation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae via hydrodynamic cavitation. In practice, the team showed that beer could be pasteurized at much lower temperatures than in the conventional thermal treatment.

Since then -- in 4 studies which along with the first one comprise the scientific foundations of the subsequent technological developments -- Italy's scientists first published in the Journal of Cleaner Production the complete theory of cavitation-based brewing and the outcomes of the first experiments directly on pre-industrial scale, and then reported in LWT - Food Science and Technology the discovery that the gluten content in beer obtained via controlled hydrocavitation was lower than in the best gluten-free beers on the market.

The team went on reporting again in the Journal of Cleaner Production the discovery that the new process can be successfuly applied to raw unmalted grains from typical old wheat varieties leading to results comparable with traditional techniques but at a fraction of the cost, opening a new way to increase the profitability of craft microbreweries.

Finally, and again in LWT - Food Science and Technology, Italy's scholars in partnership with a team of University's of Palermo analytical chemists reported the discovery that beer obtained via hydrocavitation has a significantly higher amount of prenylflavonoids and xanthohumol in particular, namely the hops biophenols which have important health beneficial properties.

Conventional brewing, on the other hand, greatly reduced the amount of said flavonoids retained in the beer eventually marketed.

Scientific papers

Press and web coverage

TGR Toscana: Servizio del 3 Giugno 2018/2
TGR Toscana: Servizio del 3 Giugno 2018/1 Nasce tra Toscana e Sicilia il birrificio del futuro
Giornale di Sicilia: Meno costi e più produzione, birra siciliana in tandem col Cnr
MIT Tech Review This Technology is About to Revolutionize Beer-Making
The Crafy Pint
Cavitation salvation
National Public Radio How The Food Industry Uses Cavitation, The Ocean's Most Powerful Punch
DRAFT Magazine The next round of beer innovations The Latest Alcohol Trend: Brewing Like a Mantis Shrimp
Research Italy CNR at full…beer!

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