SINGAPORE 18 NOVEMBER 2020 ecoSPIRITS has produced the first units of its containerised, semi-automated spirits processing facility, the ecoPLANT 2.0.  Destined for Yantai, China, Auckland, New Zealand and Melbourne, Australia, the first units of the ecoPLANT 2.0 technology will go into service in late December. Additional ecoPLANT 2.0 units will be deployed to international markets in the coming months.

The ecoPLANT is a cornerstone of the ecoSPIRITS closed loop solution for premium spirit distribution. An upgraded version of the original ecoPLANT technology, the ecoPLANT 2.0 is a containerised, semi-automated spirits processing facility engineered to meet international food safety standards and best practices. ecoPLANT 2.0 units provide high-efficiency, hygienic ecoTOTE cleaning, sanitisation and refilling in line with the standards of leading international distilleries. When paired with the ecoTOTE™ and SmartPour™ technologies, the ecoPLANT completes an innovative closed loop system that eliminates more than 95% of the packaging waste and as much as at 80% of the carbon footprint of spirits production, distribution and consumption.

The ecoSPIRITS closed loop system for spirits distribution

The ecoPLANT 2.0 offers a broad array of performance upgrades over the first generation ecoPLANT technology, which was originally deployed in early 2019. First and foremost, the containerised ecoPLANT 2.0 design and upgraded, semi-automated cleaning, sanitisation and filling equipment dramatically improves closed loop efficiency, allowing for the processing of up to 400 ecoTOTES per day with three operators. A single ecoPLANT 2.0 can eliminate more than 40,000 single use glass spirit bottles – equivalent to 22,000 kg of carbon emissions – per month when operating at full capacity. This multi-fold increase in processing capacity reduces closed loop operating costs by as much as 70% over the prior generation ecoPLANT.

An efficient, modular solution to closed loop spirits processing

At its essence, the ecoPLANT technology is a miniaturised bottling and spirits processing facility designed to fit comfortably within a customised 20-foot shipping container. This ensures that all spirits handling takes place in a clean room environment that meets or exceeds international distillery standards. Each ecoPLANT 2.0 is equipped with automated sanitisation and filling stations in an air conditioned work environment, supplemented with spirits filtration, pre-rinsing, and additional safety and hygiene features. ecoTOTE processing takes place in a continuous loop, utilising automated conveyors to reduce operator movement and strain.

Continuous process for operator efficiency

Hygienic, clean room environment

Setting gold standards in hygiene, food safety and quality control was a core objective of the ecoPLANT 2.0 project.  The standard ecoPLANT 2.0 is compliant with Food Standards Australia and New Zealand for Food Premises and Equipment, as well as the National Food Safety Standard for Food Production in China. Individual ecoPLANT units can tailored to specific food safety and production regulations of any country during the manufacturing process. Spirits filtration standards, as well as spirits handling, sampling and analysis, can also be adjusted to the requirements of individual spirits producers, dovetailing with existing production standards and controls in place at their distilleries.

Distillery grade process engineering

Gravimetric filling for speed and accuracy

The modular, containerised design of the ecoPLANT 2.0 allows for rapid deployment to any global spirits market, opening the prospect of expanded access to closed loop service for spirit brands, distributors and hospitality venues. Each ecoPLANT 2.0 arrives in its destination market fully equipped for operations, requiring just 24 hours for commissioning at a new site. For production operations, the ecoPLANT 2.0 requires three-phase power supply, as well as compressed air and cold water. With comprehensive onsite commissioning and production training from the ecoSPIRITS engineering team, activating closed loop spirits distribution in a new market is a seamless experience.

“ecoSPIRITS is committed to moving the spirit industry in the direction of a circular future. With the release of the ecoPLANT 2.0, we are now able to make closed loop spirits distribution even more efficient and cost effective,” notes ecoSPIRITS CEO Paul Gabie, “Despite the challenges 2020 has brought to our industry, we are convinced that the future is green and the future is bright.”

Photography for ecoSPIRITS by Graeme Kennedy