Skip to comments.Beer will help power Alaska brewery
Posted on 02/04/2013 5:32:40 AM PST by thackney
The Alaskan Brewing Co. is going green, but instead of looking to solar and wind energy, it has turned to a very familiar source: beer.
The Juneau-based beer maker has installed a unique boiler system in order to cut its fuel costs. It purchased a $1.8 million furnace that burns the company's spent grain - the waste accumulated from the brewing process - into steam which powers the majority of the brewery's operations.
Company officials now joke they are now serving "beer-powered beer."
What to do with spent grain was seemingly solved decades ago by breweries operating in the Lower 48. Most send the used grain, a good source of protein, to nearby farms and ranches to be used as animal feed.
But there are only 37 farms in southeast Alaska and 680 in the entire state as of 2011, and the problem of what to do with the excess spent grain - made up of the residual malt and barley - became more problematic after the brewery expanded in 1995.
The Alaskan Brewing Co. had to resort to shipping its spent grain to buyers in the Lower 48. Shipping costs for Juneau businesses are especially high because there are no roads leading in or out of the city; everything has to be flown or shipped in. However, the grain is a relatively wet byproduct of brewing, so it needs to be dried before it is shipped - another heat intensive and expensive process.
(Excerpt) Read more at adn.com ...
Sooo, what will EPA say about the beer farts coming out the stack?
Pale Ale Energy.
All wrong. They should set up a plant to use the grain to make cellulosic ethanol. Get a 300 million dollar government grant for it. The best part is that it doesn’t even have to work!
When I worked at a lumber mill as a young man, the mill generators were powered by coal but was also fed saw dust from the sawyers in the mill. lots and lots of saw dust.
That was in the 60s and it wasn’t for any “green” reasons, just a prudent use of what would have been a waste product.
I used to have my garbage picked up by Waste Management, they were always hyping the fact that they were a “green” company. When the bill reached $80 per quarter, I switched providers and went with a company that didn’t claim to be “green” for $48 per quarter. Frankly, I don’t care where or how they dispose my garbage, I’m sure they comply with the law in such matters without spending extra dollars being politically correct.
Oat hulls from the Quaker Oats plant in Cedar Rapids help fire the U of Iowa’s steam plant in Iowa City.
spent grain is superior than fresh grain for cattle feed. You know the world is upside down when it is cheaper to burn food than fuel.
I've tried to make my sister, who makes her living as an environmentalist wacko understand this kind of thing, but she apparently has too much invested in it I guess. Smart businesses will be 'green' as a natural part of their business if it makes sense. If it doesn't make sense ... then it still doesn't make sense by calling it 'green'. Companies that don't take advantage of any 'waste' product and other processes are terminally stupid and will eventually be beaten into submission or bankrupcy by those who do.
In this particular case, it is not indicative of the world's upside-downedness, but rather one of location. If it was more cost effective to use it as food, I'm preyy sure that would be happening. Perhaps they could start their own dairy business. "We have happy cows!" LOL
They make good beer, it is what I usually drink. With all the oil in alaska, amazing that burning grain makes sense.
But then, the EPA does not make sense, it is the cause of the problem, not the Brewery.
Burning oil for heat energy rarely makes economic sense anywhere in the world, unless you have no other sources of fuel.
It is the reason they shut down refinery units at North Pole, Alaska. It is tough to compete burning oil for power and heat when your competition in other locations us burning Natural Gas at about 1/6th the cost.
The grain burned in this brewery is waste product from the leftovers of making beer. There are not enough farms in the area to consume what they produce. They were spending too much money to dry it and ship it to the lower 48 to cover the costs.