Compressed air distribution system leaks can be an expensive repair. A 1/8 inch diameter hole in a 100 PSI system can cost you more than $1,200 per year in wasted energy. Because of these costly issues, you should have your compressed air distribution systems, including air compressor tubes and air fittings, inspected and professionally maintained on a regular basis.
Everything changes, however, when those compressed air distribution systems are operating at 35,000 feet.
As airlines continue to appease the needs of passengers by providing private sections, increased use of technology, and even sleeping pods, some airlines are trying to figure out how to serve draft beer at high altitudes and really improve a passenger's flight.
According to Quartz, the main issue with providing draft beer in the sky is the highly pressurized environment. At a local bar or restaurant, draft beer is released through the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) and is piped into a keg. Airplanes strictly forbid the use of CO2 on board, and for good reason. A broken valve or a faulty fissure could potentially turn that tightly compressed tank into a rocket, which is obviously not recommended on an airplane.
Dutch airline KLM, in partnership with Heineken, has found a way to serve draft beer on international flights.
Heineken sets its air compressor to a much higher level than normal because without enough pressure there would be relatively no beer pouring out and only foam. The beer will be held in "air kegs" rather than traditional steel kegs and will be essentially kept in plastic bags.
One issue they are trying to solve, however, is that because of the complicated "air keg" system, there isn't enough space on board for a cooling system. So passengers can enjoy a cold refreshing beer during the first hour or so of the flight, but then will end up drinking lukewarm beer.
"In the end, we had to leave out one of those pieces to make it all fit," said Edwin Grifioen, the designer of the Heineken product. "So with pain in our hearts we had to leave the cooling behind."
Surely there will be cold beer served in the sky in the near future, but for now we'll have to make do with the cool-to-warm taste of Heineken in the sky. It's not all bad, though, as many parts of the world actually prefer warm beer. Enjoy your next flight and contact Rapid Air today if you want to learn more about compressed air systems.