Beer Expired During Nationwide Coronavirus Lockdown Converted into Renewable Energy in Australia
When pandemic coerced nationwide lockdowns across the world, Australia’s breweries were left with huge inventories of unsold surplus of beer. However, instead of going to waste, some expired ales and lagers in the state of South Australia are being converted into renewable energy to help power a wastewater treatment plant.
At the Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant to the west of the state capital Adelaide, millions of liters of unused beer from local breweries have been converted into renewable energy to power its water treatment process in the recent months.
The plant mixes organic industrial waste with sewage mud to generate biogas, which is then turned into electricity to power the whole facility. It generally produces biogas to fulfill around 80 percent of its energy requirements.
The beer biodegrades under high temperatures in large digester tanks, using natural bacterial processes that release biogas, which in turn generates electricity.
According to Lisa hannant, senior manager of production and treatment at SA Water, the recent outflow of beer has enhanced its energy generation to new levels, reaching 654-megawatt hours within a single month.
By adding around 150,000 liters of expired beer per week, we generated a record 355,200 cubic meters of biogas in May and another 320,000 cubic meters in June, which is enough to power 1,200 houses.
She describes the donated beer as “liquid gold”, approving that the process has fueled record energy production at the wastewater facility. This initiative harnesses the power of biogas through the on-site gas engines, creating renewable energy for the treatment plant and a sustainable substitute for industrial waste that is difficult to dispose of and treat.
This new way to use waste beer to generate renewable energy is another instance of the measures industries adapted amid the coronavirus pandemic.