Beer Energy

Beer Energy

Ambience: brewery, bottles on conveyor belt
Innovation not only affects what you do, but how you do it. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We’re in Ft. Collins, Colorado, home of company that brews craft beer and has developed some cutting edge solutions for generating its own power.

Jordan: Renewable energy at New Belgium has been a process.

We’re inside the New Belgium Brewing Company talking with co-founder Kim Jordan about finding new sources of energy – including beer!

Jordan: All of the water that we use to make beer here is sent to an onsite process water treatment plant. There is leftover nutrient in that water from the beer-making process, so it goes through an anaerobic digester, and in that process we create methane. That methane is captured in a sealed bubble, we ship it back to the brewery where we send it through a combined heat and power plant and that turns into thermal and electrical energy.

Jordan: So about 15 percent of our energy at New Belgium is really made through a process of recovering nutrients in our own wastewater, which we think is a really elegant way to close the loop on resource use.
We’ve looked at a variety of different options over the years, ways to sort of test people’s theories on how they might be able to make more energy, which is also really exciting for us. We like that opportunity to be pioneers, because somehow you have to figure out, does this work or not? And somebody has to be willing to try and we think that’s pretty interesting work.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, presenting Places of Invention, a new exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Beer Energy

A brewery has developed some cutting edge solutions for generating power - - including its own beer!
Air Date:06/22/2015
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Beer Energy

Ambience: brewery, bottles on conveyor belt
Innovation not only affects what you do, but how you do it. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We're in Ft. Collins, Colorado, home of company that brews craft beer and has developed some cutting edge solutions for generating its own power.

Jordan: Renewable energy at New Belgium has been a process.

We're inside the New Belgium Brewing Company talking with co-founder Kim Jordan about finding new sources of energy - including beer!

Jordan: All of the water that we use to make beer here is sent to an onsite process water treatment plant. There is leftover nutrient in that water from the beer-making process, so it goes through an anaerobic digester, and in that process we create methane. That methane is captured in a sealed bubble, we ship it back to the brewery where we send it through a combined heat and power plant and that turns into thermal and electrical energy.

Jordan: So about 15 percent of our energy at New Belgium is really made through a process of recovering nutrients in our own wastewater, which we think is a really elegant way to close the loop on resource use.
We've looked at a variety of different options over the years, ways to sort of test people's theories on how they might be able to make more energy, which is also really exciting for us. We like that opportunity to be pioneers, because somehow you have to figure out, does this work or not? And somebody has to be willing to try and we think that's pretty interesting work.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, presenting Places of Invention, a new exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.