• 4 minutes Energy Armageddon
  • 6 minutes "How to Calculate Your Individual ESG Score to ensure that your Digital ID 'benefits' and money are accessible"
  • 12 minutes "Europe’s Energy Crisis Has Ended Its Era Of Abundance" by Irina Slav
  • 14 hours GREEN NEW DEAL = BLIZZARD OF LIES
  • 1 day Is Europe heading for winter of discontent with extensive gas shortages?
  • 8 hours "False Flag Planted In Nord Stream Pipeline, GFANZ, Gore, Carney, Net Zero, U.S. Banks, Fake Meat, and more" - NEWS in 28 minutes
  • 1 day ""Green" Energy Is a Scam. It Isn't MEANT to Work." - By James Corbett of The Corbett Report
  • 1 hour Wind droughts
  • 7 days Kazakhstan Is Defying Russia and Has the Support of China. China is Using Russia's Weakness to Expand Its Own Influence.
  • 17 hours "Natural Gas Price Fundamental Daily Forecast – Grinding Toward Summer Highs Despite Huge Short Interest" by James Hyerczyk & REUTERS on NatGas
  • 2 days Xi Is Set To Be Re-Elected As China’s Leader
  • 11 days Oil Prices Fall After Fed Raises Rates
  • 2 days 87,000 new IRS agents, higher taxes, and a massive green energy slush fund... "Here Are The Winners And Losers In The 'Inflation Reduction Act'"-ZeroHedge
  • 1 day Australian power prices go insane
  • 12 days Oil Stocks, Market Direction, Bitcoin, Minerals, Gold, Silver - Technical Trading <--- Chris Vermeulen & Gareth Soloway weigh in
  • 1 day Europeans and Americans are beginning to see the results of depending on renewables.
Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

More Info

Premium Content

Turning Beer Into Energy

For beer lovers, it may sound like a tragic waste. For those who abhor waste, it is a tale of the circular economy that could play a vital part in our future. Millions of liters of unsold beer in southern Australia were this year converted into biogas that was then used to power a wastewater treatment plant. The beer that went stale was one of the many commercial casualties of the coronavirus pandemic. When Australia went on lockdown in the spring, pubs, bars, and restaurants closed, leaving tons of produce unconsumed. But rather than taking a loss on the beer, South Australian breweries gave the beer to the Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The Glenelg plant produces biogas from organic waste and sewage sludge, and the biogas is then used to generate electricity. And, according to the plant’s management, the ales and lagers the digesters received as a result of the lockdowns were a very welcome addition to the usual mix.

“Beer’s high calorific load and methane potential means it’s perfect for co-digestion and by adding around 150,000 litres of expired beer per week, we generated a record 355,200 cubic metres of biogas in May and another 320,000 cubic metres in June, which is enough to power 1,200 houses,” said the plant’s production and treatment manager Lisa Hannant.

Biogas may have been overlooked in the renewable energy drive, but it is a renewable energy source in its own right. Any and all organic waste can be turned into biogas. All you need is a so-called digester: a sealed tank where the waste is heated so anaerobic bacteria can do their job more easily. Their job? Consuming the organic matter and producing biogas.

Related: Why Wireless Charging Is A Waste Of Energy

At 60 percent methane and 40 percent carbon dioxide, biogas can then be used like natural gas to power electricity turbines, the difference being that unlike natural gas, biogas is renewable. Of course, not all waste is equal, and not all waste makes for good biogas feedstock. Fibre-rich waste, for example, is not particularly good because it takes a lot longer for the bacteria to digest it. But beer worked a charm.

Like high-octane fuel, however, beer is a costly feedstock for digesters. But regular waste is not. Many places around the world turn their organic waste into biogas. As of 2014, the biggest producers globally were China, followed by the United States and Thailand, with India and Canada completing the top five. The fact there is no more recent data easy to find online highlights the way biogas has stayed out of the limelight, which, according to the managers of those hungry South Australia digesters, is not particularly fair.

Biogas is a versatile fuel. Besides power generation, it can be used for all the things natural gas is used for: transport, heating, and cooking, too. Yet, according to one report, there are major challenges to its wider adoption.

One of these is the availability of feedstock. Odd as this may sound, given that we produce waste constantly, it is one of the biggest barriers to the large-scale adoption of biogas as a fuel, according to this study. Then there is the infrastructure problem, related to the bigger high-cost problem. For now, it appears biogas is most suitable for small-scale production facilities that don’t cost so much to build and operate. But if beer keeps going stale at the rate it has been over the pandemic, maybe we will see a spike in biogas production. 

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:


Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage





Leave a comment

Leave a comment




EXXON Mobil -0.35
Open57.81 Trading Vol.6.96M Previous Vol.241.7B
BUY 57.15
Sell 57.00
Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News