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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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Why Utah Is Turning Perfectly Good Beer Into Natural Gas

The state of Utah dumped earlier this month US$18,000 worth of drinkable beer, sending the liquid to an anaerobic digester to turn it into natural gas and fertilizers together with other food waste.

The reason for the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) dumping 275 cases of bottled and canned beer was a new state law that raised the maximum allowable alcohol volume (AVB) on beer that is being sold at grocery stores.

The maximum ABV for beer sold at grocery or convenience stores was lifted to 5 percent from 4 percent as of November 1, under a law which Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed in March this year.

Before that, only state-run liquor stores were allowed to sell beer with an alcohol level higher than 4 percent.  

With the new law, state-operated liquor stores were advised they had to either sell all the beer below the 5 percent alcohol level or figure out how to dispose of it, so that the state liquor stores don’t compete with private retailers.

As November 1 came, state liquor stores in Utah had nearly 300 cases of beer they could not sell because of the new law. And they had no other choice really, because in Utah it is also illegal for distributors of alcoholic beverages to accept returns from sellers. Related: Forget The Hype, Aramco Shares May be Valued At Zero Next Year

So, the 275 cases of beer were poured out into an anaerobic digester for treatment and production of natural gas.

Anaerobic digesters are large tanks or lagoons where the process of anaerobic digestion takes place. Anaerobic digestion is a natural process in which microorganisms break down organic matter.

The beer ended up at the Wasatch Resource Recovery facility, which produces biogas and bio-based fertilizers and is the only such facility in Utah. Wasatch Resource Recovery processes bad beer, discarded produce, food waste from yogurt makers, and used oil from restaurants to turn them into bio natural gas and fertilizers.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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