Alaskan brewery to use beer for power

5th February, 2013 by Andy Young

When the Alaskan Brewing Company needed to find a new source of green energy it ignored solar and wind power and instead looked at source much closer to home – beer.

Alaskan Brewing CompanyThe brewery is using the wet grain known as “spent grain”, which is left over from the brewing process, as the fuel source for its new steam boiler.

The Alaskan company claims to be the first craft brewery in the world to use the brewing by-product in this way and says that using the grain will reduce the company’s “fuel oil consumption in brewhouse operations by 60-70%.

Alaskan Brewing co-founder Geoff Larson said: ““We have the unique honour of brewing craft beer in this stunning and remote place.

“But in order to grow as a small business here in Alaska and continue having a positive effect on our community, we have to take special efforts to look beyond the traditional to more innovative ways of brewing. Reducing our energy use makes good business sense, and good sense for this beautiful place where we live and play.”

The company has been brewing beer in the Alaskan coastal community of Juneau since 1986. In a statement the company said that “the pristine location and popularity of Alaskan beer has inspired the brewery to apply innovative thinking and a respect for the local environment to its growth”.

The brewery has a history of developing sustainable and green energy sources after installing a grain dryer in 1995. This dries the spent grain for use as cattle feed and Alaskan designed its grain dryer to use up to 50% of the grain as a supplemental fuel source to heat the dryer itself.

In 2008 Alaskan became the first US brewer to install a mash filter press, which is an energy saving piece of brewing equipment. The mash filter press helps to make energy, water and material efficiencies in the brewing process.

This latest piece of green kit for Alaskan sees the spent grain used to power the steam boiler. The statement from the company added: “Alaskan expects that the new boiler will eliminate the brewery’s use of fuel oil in the grain drying process and displace more than half of the fuel needed to create process steam in the brewhouse.

“Alaskan expects to save nearly 1.5 million gallons of oil over the next ten years.”

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