The Alaskan Brewing Company has gone green by burning spent grain to power its brewery in Juneau, Alaska. Formerly, the brewery had to ship off the waste product of its operations to farms in the lower 48 states, where the barley and malt was fed to livestock, but that unsustainable business model has made it very hard for the company to turn a decent profit. As a result, Alaska’s beloved brewery decided to invest in a $1.8 million furnace that burns spent grain to generate steam that powers its entire facility.
With help from the Federal Rural Energy for America Program that awarded the project a $500,000 grant, the Alaska Brewing Co. purchased their new furnace from a company in North Dakota. “While breweries around the world use spent grain as a co-fuel in energy recovery systems, nobody was burning spent grain as a sole fuel source for an energy recovery system, for a steam boiler,” Brandon Smith, the company’s brewing operations and engineering manager, told Associated Press.
The new furnace allows the brewery to transform the spent grain into a clean fuel source instead of having it shipped for $30 per ton to the lower 48. This combined with reducing operational reliance on the national grid is expected to offset the total energy load by a whopping 70 percent, according to the AP, amounting to annual savings of $450,000. Meanwhile, Alaskan Brewing Co. fans are wondering if the price of their favorite brew will drop once the furnace has paid itself off.
Via Associated Press
All images via Alaska Brewery