For Brewery, Solar Water Heater Means Twice as Much Beer for Same Energy Cost

by | Dec 21, 2009

central watersCentral Waters Brewery in Amherst, Wisc., has been able to double its beer production without spending any more on natural gas after installing a solar water heater, reports Central Wisconsin Hub.

The solar water heating system is projected to meet 18 percent of the brewery’s hot water needs and save $1.4 million over its 30-year life span.

The brewery needs to heat 1,500 gallons of water daily to about 165 degrees. The solar water heater gets the temperature to 135 degrees, then natural gas takes over.

Central Waters installed the solar water heating system with the help of a $25,000 grant from the state’s Focus on Energy group. The grant covered about 25 percent of the solar water heater’s costs.

In addition to the solar water heater, Central Waters Brewery has radiant floor heating and energy efficient lighting.

Other brewers are turning to novel means to reduce their energy consumption.

For instance, a heat and power project that takes methane gas created at a brewery and converts it into clean energy to run a nearby hospital has entered production. The project, which takes methane from City Brewery in LaCrosse, Wisc., and converts it into clean energy to run Gundersen Lutheran hospital, was touted earlier this year as a unique way for a hospital to become more on local renewable energy.

E-Fuel Corp. and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. are working together to produce ethanol from discarded beer yeast.

In the realm of liquor distilleries, an anaerobic digestion facility installed by Ecovation will process stillage from the Maker’s Mark bourbon whiskey brewing facility to produce a methane and carbon dioxide biofuel to power the distillery’s boilers.

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