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Lifting Kansas City’s Spirits With District Energy

Proper control of heat and an abundance of hot water is absolutely critical to the distilling process. For Lifted Spirits, a distillery located in the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City, leveraging district energy was the optimal solution to meeting their heat and hot water needs, while also generating significant energy savings.

Scope

Within a renovated 19th Century stable in downtown Kansas City, is Lifted Spirits, a unique craft distillery and event space. After evaluating the lifecycle costs of several energy options, its’ owners decided to decommission their problematic gas boiler and integrate district energy steam to support their operations. This decision was due to district energy’s lifecycle cost savings and 99.999% reliability – which is required in the precise distillation of high-quality spirits. Vicinity’s robust district steam is now Lifted Spirit’s food grade steam source for its distilling and hot water needs, while also helping reduce the operation’s carbon footprint.

Challenge

Constructed in the 1890’s, a former stable was converted into a high-end craft distillery in 2016. After a few years navigating the complexities, repairs and maintenance required by operating an onsite gas boiler, the new owners sought an energy alternative. The challenge was finding an energy source that would reliably, cost-effectively and sustainably provide steam for the distilling process, while also generating large quantities of hot water.

Solution

With a robust network of steam piping under the streets of downtown Kansas City, Lifted Spirits’ owners opted to partner with Vicinity Energy to meet their thermal energy needs. Because the distilling process requires precise control for a significant amount steam, a reliable and high-quality thermal energy source is crucial. In Kansas City, the district steam system generates food grade steam, or culinary steam, to serve multiple industrial customers who use steam in the production of food related products. After considering alternative boiler options and comparing the costs and efficiencies of each, Lifted Spirits chose Vicinity’s district energy system for their distilling steam and hot water needs. Through a simple connection to the district system, funded by Vicinity, the distillery is now enjoying cost effective and reliable thermal energy.

Results

Lifted Spirits is now achieving 99.999% reliability, cost savings, less maintenance requirements, precise steam control and unlimited hot water. In addition, district energy takes up less interior space, which the owners plan to leverage for their core business operations – producing high quality spirits. As the energy is used from the steam, the resulting biproduct is heated water, called condensate. Due to the high-quality water used in Vicinity’s steam, Lifted Spirits has plans to recycle the condensate into their process, resulting in additional cost savings achieved from reduced water use and less maintenance required of their reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment system. Vicinity’s steam also provides a more environmentally sustainable energy source, due to Vicinity’s combined heat and power (CHP) operations, which is reducing Kansas City’s carbon footprint by 33,000 tons annually.