Millions of litres of beer which expired at South Australian breweries amid the coronavirus pandemic has been converted into renewable energy, helping to generate enough to power a wastewater treatment plant.
The Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant, west of Adelaide, is using beer that expired due to reduced sales in restaurants, pubs and clubs when South Australia first introduced coronavirus restrictions in March.
They are converting 150,000 litres per week into renewable energy. That’s enough to power 1,200 houses in all.
The process entails discharging the beer into the site’s “digester” tanks, where it is mixed with sewage sludge, producing biogas. The biogas is then used to feed the site’s gas engines, creating electricity.
Beer worked well for the plant’s “digesters,” referring to the large sealed concrete tanks where sewage sludge is heated in an oxygen-free environment and decomposed to produce methane-rich biogas.
The booze’s high calorific value — the amount of heat released during combustion — makes it “perfect” for the anaerobic digestion process.
Imposed in late March, Australia’s coronavirus lockdown hit the brewing industry hard. In May, Lion Beer Australia, one of the country’s largest breweries, said it was emptying 90,000 kegs — or 4.5 million liters (1.188 million gallons) — of unwanted beer.
They tipped it into the onsite wastewater treatment plants at its breweries across the country to create biogas, which can be used to brew new beer.
The beer is a really great waste to add into the digester because it has such a high energy value to it. That just means we get a greater production of the gas which when feed to the engine creates much more electricity.
This is a win for the environment, sustainable living and also a hopeful future of low or no wastage.
Reference- ABC News, CNN, Hindustan Times, Futurism, EPA website