Sunday, March 11, 2012

Budweiser Tries Reprocessing Spent Grain

Fast Company:
Anheuser-Busch doesn’t just produce cheap beer for football games and frat parties--it also produces mountains and mountains of biological waste. The beer industry goes through more than 400 million tons of grain every year. These grains are used in the early stages of the brewing process and then discarded.
Most breweries give these spent grains away as livestock feed to avoid landfill fees. But Anheuser-Busch is exploring a new option: using those spent grains to create commercial products like clothes and cosmetics.
The beer behemoth has partnered with a company called Blue Marble Bio, which plans to set up large-scale biorefineries at Anheuser-Busch breweries that will use naturally occurring bacteria to break down spent grains using proprietary “polyculture fermentation technology.” That process will create both biogas, which can be used to generate electricity, and chemical compounds called carboxylic acids that are used to make everything from nylon to soap to food additives to floor polish.
Blue Marble has been experimenting with spent grain from Anheuser-Busch for about a year. Now it’s setting up a small facility in Montana to test the idea at a larger scale. Blue Marble’s challenge is to demonstrate that its process can be energy-efficient and cost-effective at high volumes. If it does, it will begin operation at one of Anheuser-Busch’s big breweries.
I don't know that I would consider using brewer's grain as livestock feed as a waste.  The cows are going to eat regardless.  Anyway, maybe they'll have some luck with the technology.

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