Wednesday, March 03, 2010

SludgEA Legs

slakesBeer, Sludge? OK! ... Beer sludge? No, thank you.

Beer Sludge to Fish Food [cnn]

Biologist Andrew Logan turns waste from breweries into food for farmed seafood.

Logan resides in Idaho Springs, Colorado. Perhaps some of his inspiration came from several locally brewed beers at the Tommyknocker Brewery and Pub. His company Oberon FMR has developed a bacteria that can turn food based waste water to high protein flakes. Mr. Logan and company are on to something. The story reports that “By law, breweries and foodmakers must find safe removal solutions for wastewater; hauling it away and composting it (or, in winter, storing it)...” That gets expensive.

After using waste water from the New Belgium Brewery in a successful pilot project the project is getting legs, or should we say fins. A recent contract with another Colorado based brewery, MillerCoors will supply 5,000 tons of sludge that will be turned into 6,000 tons of food flakes.

What is beer sludge? It’s not spent grain. Spent grain goes directly to supplement animal feed. Beer sludge is a combination of yeast, protein and organic matter from grains and the fermentation process. It all get’s drained out of tanks and beer lines and is reduced to a sludge. As an organic and unstable sludge it is as an unpleasant a mixture as the name implies. You can’t just rinse it down the drain if you’re producing a lot of beer.

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