Magic Hat turns beer waste into energy
SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT -- A landmark New England brewery is going green. The people at Magic Hat in Vermont are turning beer waste into energy.
When Magic Hat beer is brewed and bottled along the assembly line or poured from the tap, tens of thousands of pounds of wet, smelly mess are left behind every day.
“If you can first remove all of the carbon and produce a renewable fuel source from it, then it is a lot easier to get rid of,” said Eric Fitch of Purpose Energy.
Purpose Energy is teaming up with the South Burlington brewery to do just that. It's built a 492,000-gallon digester to convert the grain waste, water and yeast product into usable biogas.
“We just started feeding it about a week ago and as you can see, we already have a small flare going from the biogas that's being produced from the various waste,” said Fitch.
The $2.7 million project has been more than a year in the making. Right now the digester is pumping out about 15 cubic feet of biogas a minute. It would take 100 cubic feet of gas per minute to make beer.
“Well you're talking about close to half a mile going back and forth between this digester and the heat exchanger and back to the building again, and then all the pipes that come out of our brewery, into our flow equalization tank,” said Dan Martell of Purpose Energy.
“Instead of producing a small amount of gas relative to what a brewery consumes, we can produce almost as much gas as the brewery needs, to make their beer from their very own byproduct,” said Fitch.
Purpose Energy says if their technology proves to be a success at Magic Hat, they'll look to take what they've learned in Vermont nationwide.
“Think about the concept of changing the way breweries do business and other industries do business around the world by taking their own waste product and using that to fuel their own process,” said Fitch.
The companies are tapping into new opportunities to reduce energy costs and the amount of waste that comes with brewing beer.
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