Murkowski Visits State-of-the-Art Alternative Energy Brewery
Alaskan Brewing Company Employs Innovation to Turn Beer into More Beer
JUNEAU – While in Juneau last week to deliver her annual speech to the Alaska Legislature, Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, toured the Alaskan Brewing Company’s innovative recycling system in action. The company uses waste grain from the brewing process as biomass to generate steam energy and make more beer.
The “Beer Powered Beer” system is the only one of its kind and accounts for more than half of the brewery’s power needs. It consists of a CO2 recovery system, a mash-filter press to reduce both energy and water usage, a grain dryer to dry the used grain, and a spent-grain biomass steam boiler to power the plant. Alaskan Brewing Company owners say other major breweries have tried and failed to make this technology work in the past.
“It’s amazing to see an Alaska company become the leading authority in this type of renewable energy technology,” Senator Murkowski said. “Our state is isolated. Traditional fuel sources can cost double or even triple what they do in the Lower 48. Alaskans are innovators and resourceful because we have to be and this is a shining example of that Alaskan ingenuity.”
The Alaskan Brewing Company’s spent-grain biomass boiler came online in 2012. Spent grain is the primary waste product of the brewing process. Previously it had to be shipped at great cost to the Lower 48 where it was used as livestock feed. In an effort to save money and conserve resources, the Alaskan Brewing Company began looking at the possibility of a spent grain boiler in 1995. The project took 15 years and $4.4 million to complete. Now, the Alaskan Brewing Company is the first brewery in the world to use spent grain as its sole fuel source for a steam boiler. The custom boiler was the project’s last design element and cost $1.8 million. The boiler is expected to pay for itself in the next 5 years and reduce diesel fuel use by more than 65 percent.