Mines project aims to increase energy efficiency at MillerCoors

As part of a senior design project, two teams of Colorado School of Mines students are working with MillerCoors to recommend good practices for energy saving technologies. Teams “Golden Solutions” and “ElectroMech” are collecting data from motors larger than or equal to 50 horsepower that are used in various beer processing and utilities operations to help identify opportunities to reduce the brewery’s electrical costs.

Students are also investigating design considerations such as the use of variable frequency drives, permanent magnet motors, Power Factor Correction capacitors, high efficiency motors and other instrumentation options for increasing plant efficiency.

“From a mechanical stand point, it is neat to see the pumps and piping and how intertwined all the connections are,” ElectroMech project manager and electrical engineering major Erik Johnson said. “From an electrical stand point, it is good to see how safety precautions are carried out because we talked about them a lot in field session, but seeing the actions in person is much different than seeing presentations.”

MillerCoors Senior Project Engineer Sean Yates said the experience has been rewarding as students communicate well and work autonomously. The teams are provided with an opportunity to gain practical experiences, while using theoretical and critical thinking skills in a manufacturing environment.

“I’ve been able to treat them very much like any new engineering consultant with just a little more guidance,” Yates said. “What the students lack in experience, they make up for in diligence and smarts.”

Faculty advisor Eryn Ammerman compared the project to an internship or consulting job as students are able to work with industry professionals firsthand in their environment. 

“Since I worked as an engineer for a couple of years right after I graduated from Mines, it’s really nice to be able to share my field experience with the students and then have them go out and actually experience it for themselves,” Ammerman said.

Student recommendations will be incorporated into MillerCoors’ future optimization projects focused on energy savings.

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / KMorton@mines.edu

Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / KGilbert@mines.edu