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Monday, October 04, 2010

Spent Grains = Bio-gas!

Someone has to get this going stateside:
The company's latest venture is groundbreaking. Together with a renewable energy company, the Bio Group, it has formed the Adnams Bio Energy Ltd. joint venture. It will take its own brewing waste and food waste from the local area to produce biomethane using anaerobic digestion -- a new take on getting gas from beer.

"Right now, all our liquid waste is being diluted and dumped down the drain -- about 40 tonnes of water a day. When the plant is fully operational, not only will we be using the waste to make energy, we will be saving tonnes of water a day, too," said Wood.

At the same time, some of the waste grain from the brewing process, much of which currently goes to animal feed, will be diverted to the plant, combined with local food waste, pulped and fed into the giant digesters to generate the gas.

Once it is running at capacity, the plant will start injecting enough gas into the pipeline system to produce up to 4.8 million kilowatt-hours of energy a year -- enough, the company says, to heat 235 homes a year or power an average family car for 4 million miles.

The brewery is Adnams, an 85,000-barrel English brewery. By micro standards, that's fairly large, but Full Sail, Widmer, and Deschutes all brew more beer. If you were to rig one of these plants up within certain regional hubs (Portland, Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, Hood River), you could be looking at perhaps ten times this amount or more--50 million kilowatt hours and 2500 homes. A million kilowatt hours here and a million there and pretty soon you're talking real generation.

In any case, kudos to Adnams. Further proof that breweries rock.


  1. Fosters has been running an onsite fuel cell with their spent grains for a couple years now. Goes hand in hand with Lucky Lab's solar water heaters. Imagine what SNOBs could be proud of if all brewers in OR could participate!


    Coors makes 2 million gallons of ethanol per year from waste beer. (insert joke here about all their beer being "waste" if you like LOL)

  3. I note that there is an unexpected benefit for the brewery, in "we will be saving tonnes of water a day, too". That's a good point, but I am not sure how? Thanks. Great post.