Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The 660 Gallon Brewery Fuel Cell

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the drinking-electricity dept.

Power 238

An anonymous reader writes "Australia's University of Queensland has secured a $115,000 grant for a 660-gallon fuel cell that should produce 2 kilowatts of power. A prototype has been operating at the university laboratory for three months. This fuel cell type is essentially a battery in which bacteria consume water-soluble brewing waste such as sugar, starch and alcohol, plus in this instance produces clean water."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Me Homer (5, Funny)

wmwilson01 (912533) | more than 7 years ago | (#18965939)

Call me Homer Simpson, but all I heard was "beer, beer, beer, Mmmmm beeerrrr".

Don't forget the waste : Co2 (carbon dioxide) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18966027)

Don't forget the waste : Co2 (carbon dioxide, aka, greenhouse gas)

Face the future : YOU are doomed

09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0 (0, Offtopic)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966073)

09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0

Re:09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0 (1)

Basehart (633304) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966337)

As we used to say on tour "Beer's Beer in any language"

Re:Don't forget the waste : Co2 (carbon dioxide) (1)

lordmatthias215 (919632) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967553)

Aye, I would guess that the next step would be adding a way to scrub/store the CO2 exhaust. There has to be some use for it, and the output would be in a small contained area with a low output, perfect for capturing in tanks for some use. Any ideas?

Re:Don't forget the waste : Co2 (carbon dioxide) (1)

lordmatthias215 (919632) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967589)

Ooh, I just thought of one after I hit submit- circulate it (obviously not at 100% concentration) through small sealed greenhouses used to grow the plants needed to feed the power cell's bacteria- not only does the CO2 boost plant production, but you'd be producing fresh O2 for release back into the atmosphere, as long as you time it so you don't leak CO2 when you open the greenhouse to harvest (cut the CO2 input off with enough time for the plants to consume it down to normal atmospheric levels by the time they're ready for harvest). IANA botanist, but I'm sure they could find a way to make it work.

Re:Don't forget the waste : Co2 (carbon dioxide) (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 7 years ago | (#18968011)

It would work better if you simply made it a continuous process. Have it so the "greenhouse" is actually a very slow moving conveyor upon which a medium of sugar water or something is poured(again, very slowly), and then pace it so the plants at the end have reached a certain mass by the time they reach the end. The only issue is that it would be so ridiculously slow and inefficient that you might not as well do it. The byproducts are part of the carbon cycle anyway(Thus carbon neutral), so quit whining.

Re:Me Homer (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966357)

Except that the damn bugs are drinking the beer and pissing clean water.

Re:Me Homer (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18966851)

At last they've found someone who'll drink Fosters. That now makes 1) bacteria and 2) stupid Americans.

Re:Me Homer (3, Funny)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967425)

As an aussie... I assure you that this was just logical progression.

1. make beer
2. drink beer
3. make power with beer
4. ????
5. profit

I just hope they don't use XXXX waste for it... the bacteria will spend more time throwing up than making energy.

Re:Me Homer (1)

Simpsoid (1087767) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967705)

You Sir are a galoot!
XXXX (Bitter) is Queensland's finest beer!!!

Now I'm starting to think you mistyped "VB" ;)

Just for reference (1, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18965945)

that's 20 100 watt bulbs.

Not bad.

Re:Just for reference (4, Funny)

ez76 (322080) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966123)

More importantly, Zima has found a market!

Re:Just for reference (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966125)

How many 20 watt bulbs would it be?

Re:Just for reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18966315)

Or better yet... how many libraries of congress would that be?

Re:Just for reference (4, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966251)

that's 20 100 watt bulbs

Or 200 10 watt compact florescent bulbs, which is all we use. Not 200 of them, of course. But in a 5000 square foot home, we do have quite a few.

More importantly, that's an average rate, so storage during off hours could yield considerably more output. If you sleep 8 hours of a 24 hour day and aren't home for another 8 while you work, that leaves 8 hours at 6 kilowatts if you control your inactive power consumption decently, and even if you don't, you could still end up with a great deal more than 2KW available to you. Storage also allows for short peak usage (startup of furnace blowers, refrigerator motors, air conditioners and so on... takes a lot more to start most motors than it does to keep them turning, even under load.

I would definitely be willing to make room for a 700 gallon or so tank; I wonder what the feeding, cleaning, and environmental requirements for a production version will be. I've been seriously considering solar, but the high installation cost and the relatively short lifetime of silicon cells (20 years or less) doesn't work out very well. If this thing can run long term and isn't a maintenance nightmare, I'd jump on that puppy instantly.

Re:Just for reference (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966435)

Breweries have essentially been doing this for centuries now, the process is methodical and is no more hard work than tending a small garden or cooking your own meals.

Which is not that great for the space.. (3, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966825)

660 gallons is a LOT of fluid. for reference the average 100 gallon tank will be 2 yards by 1.5 feet by 1.5 feet.

so this thing would be about the size of a king sized bed at the least, and it's only generating enough to power 20 100 watt bulbs. From the energy ratings i remember on our appliances it wouldn't even power a single family home.

Re:Which is not that great for the space.. (4, Informative)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967469)

The electricity isn't the main point. From the article:

"It's not going to make an enormous amount of power -- its primarily a waste water treatment that has the added benefit of creating electricity,"

Re:Which is not that great for the space.. (2, Funny)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967555)

then why the heck is the article titled 660 gallon fuel cell! DAMN YOU EDITORRRS!

Re:Which is not that great for the space.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18967587)

100 gallon tank will be 2 yards by 1.5 feet by 1.5 feet
Those are the same dimensions as the average american.

I think somebody misunderstood the process. (4, Insightful)

BSarp (222084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18965949)

Alcohol isn't brewing "waste" -- it's the entire point!

i, for one, welcome our new yeast based economy (1)

hildi (868839) | more than 7 years ago | (#18965993)

and by the way, if you are making bread, the alcohol is evaporated during baking (or so they say muhahaha)

Re:I think somebody misunderstood the process. (5, Funny)

dan828 (753380) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966005)

It sounds like a bunch of grad students got together and convinced someone to fund a brewery that they had rigged up in the basement of the science building. I can just picture a bunch of guys sitting around drinking beer and trying to write a grant proposal. "Oh hell, just tell them it's a fucking fuel cell...."

Re:I think somebody misunderstood the process. (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966857)

And it produces enough electricity to power that big screen TV currently tuned to the homecomming game (pay no attention to the extension cord).

Re:I think somebody misunderstood the process. (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967177)

If it's chemical engineering, which I suspect, they already have a big distillation tower as the centrepiece of the building with fairly pure stuff coming off the top plate. Oddly enough it's like hot sake more than anything else.

Another university in the same city put together a wall mounted microbrewery with all the parts you would expect in a full sized brewery - it was put together as a teaching tool for a technical college. A few hundred litres went through in the testing stage but it got out the door and to the technical college before the Vice Chancellor knew it existed.

Good idea (5, Funny)

JanneM (7445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18965959)

So it sits on the campus consuming sugar, starches and alcohol. Just like a graduate student then, except you also get some useful output. Should revolutionize academia; just imagine what this device is capable of once it gets tenure.

Re:Good idea (3, Funny)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966033)

You could generate even more power by placing treadmills 360 degress around the tanks and paint the tanks to look like free & cheap beer.

ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18966051)

If you don't know what Cmd-Shift-1 and Cmd-Shift-2 are for, GTFO.
If you think Firefox is a decent Mac application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the "maximize" button, GTFO.
If the name "Clarus" means nothing to you, GTFO.

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real [imageshack.us] Mac [imageshack.us] users [imageshack.us] . Keep your filthy, beige [imageshack.us] PC fingers to yourself.

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18966189)

Your rant would be much more effective if those chicks in the pictures were naked. And if you've never used DOS 3.3 or had a free subscription to Softalk, you're a johnny-come-lately poseur anyways, so GTFO. Clarus my ass.

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (1, Troll)

Cheezymadman (1083175) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966389)

Ugly girl, Myspace girl, faggoty retro guys, and pile of puke. Yup, typical Mac users.

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18966329)

Beige is by far the best color any computer case has ever been produced in.

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18966171)

just imagine what this device is capable of once it gets tenure.

Nah, by that time, everyone will complain about what a waste of money academia is and how teachers are all incompetent and should be outputting at least 5GW each.

Re:Good idea (1)

weighn (578357) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966231)

So it sits on the campus consuming sugar, starches and alcohol. Just like a graduate student then, except you also get some useful output. Should revolutionize academia; just imagine what this device is capable of once it gets tenure.
its a WKF that when you're pissed, your pee is 99% H<sub>2</sub>O anyway.

all good campus toilets have the notice: "please flush twice, its a long way to the bar"

Re:Good idea (4, Funny)

SurturZ (54334) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966281)

I'm glad they've found another use for vegemite.

For those that aren't from Australia, Vegemite is a foodstuff by-product from brewing. It's chief ingredients are yeast, salt and pain.

Re:Good idea (2, Insightful)

goatpunch (668594) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966939)

For those of you who are from Australia; Vegemite is a watered down, sweetened copy of the British product Marmite (there's an Australian 'Marmite' too, but it's even worse than Vegemite). Do yourselves a favour and try some Marmite.

Re:Good idea (3, Funny)

magarity (164372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967419)

Do yourselves a favour and try some Marmite.
 
I travelled to the UK for the first time this last January. At the hotel breakfast buffet there were some little containers labelled 'Marmite' in with the usual jams, butter, and such so I picked it up. I put it on some toast as I would some jam and took a bite. It was, bar none, the worst culinary experience of my entire life. Whatever you do, DO NOT eat the Marmite! It's so excruciatingly awful it must exist purely as a hidden camera type trick the Brits play on tourists.

Re:Good idea (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967967)

Vegemite is a watered down, sweetened copy of the British product Marmite

I had vegemite once. It's been awhile, but IIRC, it reminded me quite a bit of beef bullion.

Bender (4, Funny)

WFFS (694717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18965967)

Am I the only one who immediately thought of Bender [wikipedia.org] from Futurama?

Good to feel again (2, Funny)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18965989)

It'll be nice to know that beer is saving the planet!

Re:Good to feel again (5, Funny)

Bad D.N.A. (753582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967607)

Beer has been saving this planet for thousands of years. Can you imagine if people had to actually deal with their problems?

Producing power from keg swill. (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18965991)

What will all the freshmen drink?

Re:Producing power from keg swill. (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966975)

The water of course.
-nB

Re:Producing power from keg swill. (1)

Cheezymadman (1083175) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967929)

The same thing they drink now. Zima and Red Bull.

It won't be long now... (2, Insightful)

umbrellasd (876984) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966021)

before we see a press release claiming a breakthrough in power generation: "By placing horses in a giant wheel that is connected to a turbine and then racing them, scientists have found a way to generate all the power we need on a steady supply of oats and barley. Also generates lots of gambling revenue for the state."

Re:It won't be long now... (2, Funny)

weighn (578357) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966279)

"Also generates lots of gambling revenue for the state."
I like where you're heading. Perhaps we can tap into those darned gaming machines also. These got to be a heap of excess kinetic energy when you slap those buttons.

Ditto sex. The three BIG EVILS of the Conservative universe - drinking, gambling and prostitution - could just turn out to be the saviors of the world

Re:It won't be long now... (4, Funny)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966757)

>I like where you're heading. Perhaps we can tap into those darned gaming machines also. These got to be a heap of excess kinetic energy when you slap those buttons.

>Ditto sex. The three BIG EVILS of the Conservative universe - drinking, gambling and prostitution - could just turn out to be the saviors of the world


In the bedroom:

"Honey, what's that?!?!"

"They call it Sex@Home. We have to do our part to stop global warming..."

Gotta do it (-1, Offtopic)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966037)

I for one welcome our new brewery waste fuel cell overlords.

Oh? (1)

Dragon By Proxy (1063904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966341)

Well... I, for one, welcome our new thoroughly sloshed yet constantly wired overlords!

Not entirely clean (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18966087)

Note that TFA indicates that this is a method to remove brewer's waste, with the byproduct of producing electricity. As a method for producing electricity in general, it is not a clean method because you'd first have to produce alcohol (which would then we cleaned by the bacteria). Producing alcohol produces *VAST* amounts of CO2.

I have worked as an assistant winemaker at a small vinyard. Our vats are 3000 litres apiece. Even with these small vats, the temperature reached by the yeast cell division is HOT to the touch (but not enough for thermal electricity generation). If you were to walk into the room where the vats are without first ventilating the room, you would pass out because the oxygen in your lungs feels like it is literally sucked out (not sure of the actual physical process involved). If no one were around, you would die from asphyxiation. It is wierd sensation, let me tell you.

Re:Not entirely clean (4, Insightful)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966173)

Its funny how these days, any "alternative" form of energy is automatically considered by many to be "clean", "green" or "environmentally friendly".

Just for the record: Biofuels are definitely NOT environmentally friendly and Hydro-electric plants are amongst the construction projects most often protested AGAINST on environmental grounds.

Just thought that need to be said.

Re:Not entirely clean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18966527)

Presumably they're making the beer anyhow, so this would be cleaner than just tossing the waste products.

Re:Not entirely clean (5, Insightful)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966859)

I'm curious how (sustainable) biofuel isn't environmentally friendly? It's carbon neutral, leverages our existing overproduction of food crops, seems all good all round. The only thing I can think of is that it's smelly and bad for your valve seats... obviously logging old growth forest for biomass doesn't count here, just things like maize and grain crops.

Hydro plants are protested against because they flood large areas of wildlife habitats and peoples' homes. That's an 'environmental' issue but not an emissions one.

I agree, though, that jumping on the 'alternative' bandwagon is far too fashionable and often counterconstructive - take, for example, the fact that the Prius [consumeraffairs.com] uses more fuel than the Golf TDi [about.com] [1]. Like any other engineering issue (and conservation is one at heart) you have to look at the data and not just follow the emotive hype. For instance, modern nuclear reactor designs [wikipedia.org] are far safer than the old, cold-war era designs, and potentially very fuel efficient. If it weren't for the "nuclear is bad" mindset of the general public, they would be the perfect mid- to long-term energy solution.

[1] Of course, that's not a fair comparison because the TDi runs diesel fuel which has a higher energy density, but I'm pretty sure the total energy cost of a Prius over its lifetime is higher than that of a TDi.

Re:Not entirely clean (1)

Kool Moe (43724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967133)

Until nuclear waste can be cleanly disposed of without negative effect, nuclear will never be the ideal solution. Solar is the ideal solution, we just gotta get them thar panels working better! A city with efficient solar panels on every roof is the dream...
KM

Re:Not entirely clean (5, Informative)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967291)

Integral fast reactors consume any transuranic element.

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

Compared to current light-water reactors with a once-through fuel cycle that uses less than 1% of the energy in the uranium, the IFR has a very efficient (99.5% usage) fuel cycle. The basic scheme used electrolytic separation to remove transuranics and actinides from the wastes and concentrate them. These concentrated fuels were then reformed, on site, into new fuel elements.
Non-trans-uranic (sub-uranic? pre-uranic?) waste products are a short term storage proposal only.

Another important benefit of removing the long half-life transuranics from the waste cycle is that the remaining waste becomes a much shorter-term hazard. After the actinides and transuranics are removed from the spent fuel, the remaining waste elements have half lives of a few decades at most. The result is that within 300 years, such wastes are no more radioactive than the ores of natural radioactive elements.
In laymans' terms, it can't explode (no high-pressure radioactive coolant), it can't melt down (passive self-limiting design), it doesn't produce long-lived radioactives (any that it does produce it re-burns into short-lived waste). Nuclear looks pretty ideal short-term to me, and with this type of reactor it's good for mid- to long-term too. Solar will be good once solar cells can actually pay for the costs of their own manufacture in less than 20 years.

Re:Not entirely clean (1)

be-fan (61476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967351)

We don't need an ideal solution, we need a good one. It's a relative-cost thing. That's the cost of using nuclear power, versus the cost of using fossil fuels for another 100 years while we engineer the "perfect" solution?

Re:Not entirely clean (1)

Dadoo (899435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967775)

Solar is the ideal solution

I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I remember hearing that not only do solar cells require more energy to produce than they will generate over their entire lifetimes, but the production process is very environmentally unfriendly.

Re:Not entirely clean (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967251)

For instance, modern nuclear reactor designs are far safer than the old, cold-war era designs

Of course they are - there's nothing safer than something that has never been built.

Re:Not entirely clean (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18967613)

I'm curious how (sustainable) biofuel isn't environmentally friendly? It's carbon neutral, leverages our existing overproduction of food crops, seems all good all round.

That "overproduction" of food crops is made possible by very resource intensive farming practices which are heavily dependent on the chemical industry (fertilizers & pesticides) which use use petroleum as feedstocks. Without it, yields would drop dramatically as the soil is depleted. Alot has been made of the brazilian biofuel efforts - I suspect this will actually have a devastating effect on the already besieged rainforest. They practice slash & burn agriculture for everything else - why would bio-fuel crops be any different?

I'm not sure about the "carbon neutral" either - at least with respect to the atmosphere, which is the primary point. Much of these agricultural products used to produce these biofuels would eventually end up effectively "sequestered" back in the ground via plowing under agricultural waste, disposal of sewage, etc. Instead you are now fermenting & burning it - releasing all of that carbon into the atmosphere.

Hydro plants are not carbon neutral either because the normally free-flowing river now silts up and those materials decay at the bottom of the lake producing more CO2

Re:Not entirely clean (5, Funny)

evwah (954864) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966207)

"If no one were around, you would die from asphyxiation. It is wierd sensation, let me tell you."

you have personal experience dying from asphyxiation? that has to be a first

Re:Not entirely clean (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966881)

There is something to be said for learning from one's own mistakes. There's also something to be said for learning from the mistakes of others.

For example, I happen to know that a good cuber (what butchers use to turn otherwise unpalatably tough meat into unpalatably bizarre cube steaks, among other uses) can crush bones and spit out a cube arm if you're a big enough idiot to let it catch one of your fingers when you're feeding meat through it; I know this because a butcher I used to work with saw it happen to a guy 30 years ago when he was first learning how to be a butcher.

Re:Not entirely clean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18967151)

Michael Hutchence?

Re:Not entirely clean (4, Informative)

kkerwin (730626) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966283)

"If you were to walk into the room where the vats are without first ventilating the room, you would pass out because the oxygen in your lungs feels like it is literally sucked out (not sure of the actual physical process involved)."

Diffusion of oxygen against a concentration gradient. It's basically the same process that happens when you sprinkle salt on a slug and it dies: the salt lowers the water concentration outside of the slug, and water flows out of the slug to balance the water concentrations in and out of the slug.

Partial pressure of oxygen outside of the lungs (pressure produced only by oxygen molecules, nothing else) is much lower than the partial pressure of oxygen inside the lungs. Oxygen flows out of the lungs to equalize the partial pressures. CO2 flows into the lungs to replace the displaced oxygen.

And, you die, just like the slug. :-)

Re:Not entirely clean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18966317)

What, exactly, is wrong with CO2? I'm exhaling it right now. It's the major end product of almost every animal metabolism.

Re:Not entirely clean (0, Offtopic)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966345)

Producing alcohol produces *VAST* amounts of CO2.

The whole CO2 thing is just total FUD. Mars is warming just as fast as we are. [timesonline.co.uk] In the historical record, CO2 lags warming, it doesn't lead it, and no surprise, with the water vapor cycle running at many times the speed of the CO2 cycle and directly tied to temperature, which our current CO2 generation is not. Global warming is real, all right, but it sure as heck isn't CO2 that is causing it. Look up. See that yellow thing? That's a free-running fusion reaction, and it makes a lot of heat at rates that are known to vary, and that is by far the most likely candidate for what is causing the warming we (and mars) are experiencing.

Re:Not entirely clean (0, Offtopic)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967179)

You can mod that post troll all you want. Those are all facts, and no amount of politically correct moaning - or modding - will change those facts. Anyone who isn't taken in by the groupthink can check those facts and they'll find they are 100% accurate. The conclusion says "most likely candidate" and that too is a reasonable statement given the facts at hand.

Re:Not entirely clean (1)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966521)

You just gave me an intersting idea. Algae farms have a problem that they aren't very productive without an external CO2 source. What if we used this device to produce energy, then pumped the remaining CO2 into an algae farm to produce even more energy.I'm not too sure about all the math behind it (I'll look into the numbers after I hit submit) so it may not be efficient at all but it just seems so obvious. I'm sure it must have been done before: ferment corn or something then pump the CO2 into an algae farm. Burn ethanol and make biodisel.

/me calls patent office :)

Re:Not entirely clean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18966789)

So pump the co2 to the industrial hemp grow facility next door and let the hemp turn it into oxygen and if you think it won't turn enough of the co2 into oxygen, well your just not imagining as large a facility as I am ;)

Re:Not entirely clean (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967213)

Note that TFA indicates that this is a method to remove brewer's waste

That's a good idea - all we do with our brewing waste now is add salt and spread it on bread as Vegemite - still a prohibited import to the USA I believe becuase it contains folate.

Re:Not entirely clean (2, Insightful)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967453)

"Producing alcohol produces *VAST* amounts of CO2."

Which comes from sugar, the carbon dioxide from which is sucked out of the atmosphere. It's essentially carbon neutral (like any other biofuel or crop). If the waste plant material is not burnt, it might even act as a net sink.

How about using sewage ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18966117)

Would solve 2 problems at once and take care of the crap !

That's being done already (2, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966451)

http://www.ccc.govt.nz/WasteWater/TreatmentPlant/F lowDiagram.asp [ccc.govt.nz]

The digester in this small (330k population) plant generates methane which fires converted gasoline engines to generate electricity. The waste heat goes to warming the digester. There's still solid waste though.

Burning methane is a GoodTHing. Methane has approx 27 times the greenhouse effect of CO2, so burning it produces power and reduces greenhouse gases.

Re:That's being done already (1)

kes137 (1096777) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967157)

Right, many larger plants utilize anaerobic digesters to reduce the volatile waste solids of a treatment plant. Of the gases produces from digestion, 65-70% of this is methane, a gas that can be easily converted into energy by burning. This simply goes back into heating the digesters so really no energy is gained. Bacteria consuming organic matter for waste treatment is certainly not state of the art, every treatment plant in the world uses some form of this. The article does a poor job of describing how the chemical energy is harnessed. I am failing to see how this differs from any other biological waste treatment technology of today.

I hope it gets better (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18966139)

660 gallons is about fifteen barrels. 2 kW isn't that much so maybe for my house I need 6 kW. That's approx. forty five barrels. That's a lot of barrels in the back yard.

Re:I hope it gets better (1)

Mr Jazzizle (896331) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966379)

More importantly, that's a lot of beer!

Re:I hope it gets better (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966383)

2 kW isn't that much so maybe for my house I need 6 kW

Do you need 6 kw while you sleep? Do you need 6kw while you're at work? If not, that same system might serve to give you 6kw for 8 hours by storing the other 4 kw generated during the 16 or so hours of low duty time periods. Storage makes all the difference in the world. Some people might actually consume 6kw all the time, but that seems like an awful lot. I don't, and I live in a pretty big home with a whole slew of electronic gear.

Re:I hope it gets better (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966503)

What are you going to do with all the beer?

And we are talking gallons and gallons a day to keep a 600 gallon waste tank full.

I was being a bit flip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18967097)

How much electricity one uses is determined by what one does with the electricity. If we count all the energy used by a family, both at home and at work, and for heating and airconditioning, 6 kW isn't a bad estimate. If we were to supply all our energy by this process, we would have the equivalent of a whole bunch of barrels in every back yard. Unless the process improves, we are talking about some serious realestate.

Re:I hope it gets better (2, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967209)

Well put. With regards to storage, your water heater at home is a thermal battery. If everyone switched to more efficient tankless hot water heaters (simple heat exchanges), huge amounts of energy would be saved (since energy is used only when water is flowing) but since more energy is drawn down to heat water from 50 degrees F to 115 degrees F, utilities would have a higher peak demand to plan for. With water heaters, more energy is lost to standby heat but the water heater buffers demand for the utilities.

I, for one, ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18966191)

fear that People for the Ethical Treatment of Bacteria will shut this one down.

Imagine (4, Funny)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966213)

Imagine a beo...(hic)...a be...(hic)...imagine a...(hic)...imagine...what was I saying?...(hic)...Imagine...John Lennon was the best Beatle.

New Belgium Brewery (4, Interesting)

tooyoung (853621) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966301)

New Belgium Brewery [newbelgium.com] , most famous for Fat Tire and Sunshine, produce 10% of their electricity using the methane that is produced from bacteria feeding off of their waste water.

Re:New Belgium Brewery (3, Informative)

Hepneck (876605) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966501)

Here is the link for New Belgium Brewery's site about how they process their wastewater. The energy that they use at the brewery that is not generated in-house is provided from wind farms in Wyoming (a half hours drive north of Ft. Collins. This makes them the only brewery in the US that is powered not only by renewable energy, but energy that is also sustainable. So enjoy that Fat Tire or Sunshine Wheat guilt-free (well, other than the excuses you make for why you got home from work so late).

Link:
http://www.newbelgium.com/innovation_waste.php [newbelgium.com]

Re:New Belgium Brewery (1)

davygrvy (868500) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966505)

Great follow-up, thank you.

I can see the Guinness advertisement already (3, Funny)

the_tsi (19767) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966369)

"Six bottles in one hand? That's nothing, those lads at Guinness are powering the entirety of Dublin with their brewery!"

"Electrical power from beer effluvia?! BRILLIANT!"

Waste? (2, Funny)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966411)

in which bacteria consume water-soluble brewing waste such as sugar, starch and alcohol


Waste? Waste?! Methinks they have not thought this "brewing process" through.

Re:Waste? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966745)

i bet most brewries produce quite a bit stuff that contains sugar starch and alcohol plus some other crap that is not usable for drinking. Batches that went wrong, stuff from near the beggining/end of a batch that is too contaminated (i belive this applies especially to distillation where you have to chuck the early product because it has a high methanol content) soloutions that have been heated as an alcohol vapour source for fractional distillation and no longer contain enough alcohol to be used for that purpose.

Re:Waste? (1)

damista (1020989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967049)

Mate, we're talking Queenslanders here. A Queenslander would NEVER waste alcohol. Believe me, if they call it waste, it is waste :)

XXXX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18966457)

Brewers waste hey? They should include Four-X beer. It's Queensland's native brew, but the rest of Australia loves to hate it.

Dollars or Dollars? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18966613)

115,000 Australian dollars [google.com] is 95,404 US dollars as I post this message.

yum (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967067)

in which bacteria consume water-soluble brewing waste such as sugar, starch and alcohol

Also know as Vegemite.

One thing (1)

can56 (698639) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967215)

I'm curious about is how often the 660 gallon tank has to be refilled, or what the flow rate (in beers/hour?) is. A technology that takes waste products, and turns it into clean water and electricity is something to be applauded (think pulp mills), but 2 Kwh from a 3-ton battery does not seem very efficient -- my own body (fueled on beer alone) can do better than that. However, the pure water output is one thing this device produces, unlike my chemical plant.

m6od down (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18967237)

According tothis Users', BigAz1z, Cre3k, abysmal

Fosters *ugh* (3, Funny)

Bester (27412) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967379)

Finally someone found a good use for Fosters beer. It's certainly not good for drinking.

Although we do manage to sell it to the Americans and claim that it is beer, they seem to buy it.

Charles
--
Violence is the first refuge of the idiot.

Re:Fosters *ugh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18967865)

I don't know anybody who drinks the "Fosters" branded beer but I don't mind some of their wines (pepper jack was the last one) and I know quite a few people who drink their Cascade, Carlton or even the occasional VB (or is that BV after a few)

They're throwing away... (1)

gondwannabe (1028488) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967385)

...perfectly good sugar, starch and alcohol!

Isn't that what beer is???

Thus the profit spake, (4, Funny)

HackingYodel (847061) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967701)

Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. --Benjamin Franklin.


A man who knew a bit about both beer and electricity. Think he's smiling down from heaven about this, or puzzled it took us so long?

New Belgium Brewry has been doing this already (1)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967725)

Sorry been there done that. Buy Fat Tire beeer and save the planet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Belgium_Brewing_C ompany [wikipedia.org] They generate 1/3 of their power from beer waste generating methane. (See energy prectices)

Wait a minute... (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967727)

You take yeast, sugar and alcohol and get water?

WHAT A WASTE OF GOOD ALCOHOL!

It would give a new meaing to (4, Funny)

Mogster (459037) | more than 7 years ago | (#18967815)

the phrase 'drunk with power'
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?