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Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:32 PM

Alaskan Brewing Co. goes green by installing beer powered boiler

Beer will help power Alaska brewery

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - 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 the brewing process, so it needs to be dried before it is shipped -- another heat intensive and expensive process.

http://money.msn.com/business-news/article.aspx?feed=AP&date=20130204&id=16075491


Beer - it does everything!

12 replies, 811 views

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Alaskan Brewing Co. goes green by installing beer powered boiler (Original post)
Initech Feb 2013 OP
NoOneMan Feb 2013 #1
hobbit709 Feb 2013 #2
NoOneMan Feb 2013 #3
hobbit709 Feb 2013 #4
NoOneMan Feb 2013 #5
hobbit709 Feb 2013 #6
NoOneMan Feb 2013 #7
hobbit709 Feb 2013 #8
NoOneMan Feb 2013 #9
NickB79 Feb 2013 #11
NickB79 Feb 2013 #12
dembotoz Feb 2013 #10

Response to Initech (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:43 PM

1. We wouldn't want all that wasted grain to sit around and....compost

 

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:44 PM

2. what good would compost do them?

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:52 PM

3. Amend depleted soil

 

There is no "waste". We just seem to want to utilize every last drop of surplus (therefore justifying the continued harvesting of mroe suplus), but in a natural system the excess is just recycled. In modern agriculture, we deplete the soils and then pour oil-based fertilizers on it, destroying soil structure and mycelium colonies. It wouldn't be a bad idea to try and rebuild it.

But hey. What do I know? Those smart folk in charge sure have never screwed up before.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:55 PM

4. We're talking Alaska here. As it said 37 farms in all of SE Alaska

I doubt there's very much soil depletion going on there.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:59 PM

5. No, just somewhere else where the grains come from

 

Out of sight and out of mind I guess

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:01 PM

6. I guess the cost involved doesn't bother you?

The only way out of Juneau is by air or ship.

tell you what, you offer to pay for the shipping of the compost and they'll probably thank you for it.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:09 PM

7. It always comes down to the bottom line

 

We cultivate, pillage, deplete, exploits, destroy, etc, for the almighty buck. And if anyone complains, just put them in their place by evoking the name of God (money).

Sure, it might cost too much for them to redistribute "wasted" grains back in an ecologically friendly way due to their geographical location. But then again, why the hell did they pick a spot where they had to pay to import grains? Why the hell do we all do most of what we do? Then why do we bitch about how much it would cost to be ecological responsible (if that is at all possible)?

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:16 PM

8. so no one should live where anything needs to be imported?

and they're doing something with the waste. By burning the waste to produce heat they're not burning oil.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:24 PM

9. No

 

Living above the carrying capacity of the land threatens food security, dependence and resilience, as well as increases the energy required to deliver the goods due to complexity (shipping/refrigeration/packaging). Its a stupid idea we've gone hog-wild with.

By burning the waste to produce heat they're not burning oil.

That waste was grown with oil and shipped there with oil, so oil is still involved. Its probably better than doing nothing with it, but probably worse than not demanding its production and importing it in the first place.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:32 PM

11. If we were really worried about shipping costs

It would make more sense to just make the beer in the US Midwest close to where we actually grow the grain, and ship the beer itself around the country, including up to Alaska.

Since there are so few farms in Alaska, I'm guessing they import all that barley and hops up north in the first place.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:33 PM

12. We'll need good soils in Alaska in a few decades

When many of the fields in the central US are too drought-cracked and heatwave-baked from global warming to support much agriculture anymore.

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Response to Initech (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:28 PM

10. sounds like a creative solution that lessens several problems

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