Wind and solar energy are yesterday’s news. This is not to take away from businesses using these energy alternatives. I can only hope that more and more facilities will switch to greener production as time goes on, no matter which method they choose.
The Alaskan Brewing Company, however, is taking green brewing to an entirely new level. They’re now working on a plan to start brewing their beer with beer. No joke.
A lot of breweries sell or donate their spent grain to local farmers to use for feed or compost. This isn’t an option for the Alaskan Brewing company, because they’re stationed in Juneau, where there are no roads leading in or out of the city. So everything must be flown or shipped out, and the costs are astronomical. They needed an alternative.
So they applied for a grant from the Rural Energy for America program, and were awarded $500,000, which they put toward a $1.8 million furnace that burns spent grain and turns it into steam. They’re hoping they’ll be able to use the system to power most, if not all, of their operations.
The system is near completion and Brandon Smith, Alaskan’s Brewing Operations and Engineering Manager, said the new boiler system is projected to reduce yearly energy costs by up to 70 percent, saving $450,000 per year.
To quote the boys over at Esquire: “There are breweries that can largely fuel themselves with spent grain. That spent grain can also feed cattle. Those cattle can become burgers. Burgers go well with fries. Fries need cooking oils. Cooking oils fuel cars. Cars ship beer and cattle. We eat cattle and drink beer, making trash. Trash can power the homes we drive back to, and perhaps the rest of the breweries, too. Self-sustaining drink, food, transportation, shelter. A brewery just solved energy and humanity.”
They may be taking it a bit too far, but they do have a point. Kudos to the Alaskan Brewing Company. I truly hope we start to see more of this in the future.