Skip navigation links

49. Biogas energy applications that can reduce organic wastes and positively impact your brewery’s sustainability goals

J. M. VAN VOORHIS (1); (1) Symbiont Science, Engineering and Construction, Inc., Milwaukee, WI, U.S.A.

Sustainability I
Friday, October 9
4:00–5:45 p.m.
River Terrace 2

This presentation will discuss biogas energy use applications and the positive sustainability impacts that can be achieved in association with utilizing brewery wastewater streams and other organic brewery wastes to produce “green” renewable energy via anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion has been used for decades by wastewater treatment facilities and various industries to offset a portion of their energy use. Today, with increased energy costs and the desire to achieve higher sustainability thresholds, breweries and other industries are taking a second look at approaches to achieve these goals. Biogas can be used in a variety of ways to potentially create a high value use for a brewery operation. Biogas can be used for electricity generation, such as in the case of internal combustion (IC) engines, microturbines, or for boiler fuel in process heating or in combined heat and power (CHP) generation. However, there are other potential biogas energy applications, such as for powering fuel cells that produce electricity and waste heat that can be captured for secondary brewery thermal process uses. Biogas is also now being converted into renewable natural gas (RNG) for fueling truck fleets, and these users can achieve considerable savings over diesel fuel. Both fuel cells and RNG represent more recent applications that can be a potentially economically attractive option. This presentation will discuss these various biogas energy approaches, economic factors and system efficiencies, optimization aspects of using internally generated organic wastes for anaerobic digestion, and sustainability impacts that include the brewery’s supply chain. In addition, other potential scenarios will be outlined that can be integrated to reduce overall water usage and/or water reuse that would have additional positive sustainability impacts. In summary, a brewery that put its waste to work can potentially help achieve substantial benefits from an economic standpoint, increase its energy independence, and help meet its overall sustainability goals.

Jeff Van Voorhis has more than 18 years of experience in wastewater treatment for the food and beverage industries. He has served as the project manager for a variety of large- and small-scale projects. He is experienced in all phases of wastewater treatment projects, from wastewater characterization and permitting through design, construction, and start-up. Jeff also incorporates renewable energy utilization into his projects whenever feasible. He received his B.S. degree in civil engineering (environmental emphasis) from Purdue University and his MBA from Marquette University.

View Presentation