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Grease and Beer = Power Grid Supply??

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

 Check out these two awesome features, one on a new Vegawatt power system (see image below) to convert restaurant waste oil into electricity and hot water ("Out of the frying pan and into the power grid")...



...and the other on fueling the upcoming Democratic National Convention with COORS BEER!  The company converts waste beer to ethanol and donated "enough clean burning ethanol fuel for 400 General Motors (GM) flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) that will transport DNC officials, U.S. House and Senate members, state party chairs, delegates, staff and media."

post #2 of 5

Nice.  I'm glad Coors is finally good for something!

post #3 of 5

In the future, your refueling station may be your favorite microbrewery. Why? Because for a new fuel technology to disrupt fossils, it has to be


a) dirt cheap (microorganisms work for free)

b) pattent free (like Open Source software and beer)




c) highly scalable by means of decentralization (not "economies of scale")


I say leave the Oil Industry alone. By the time they wake up and smell the coffee brew they won't know what hit them ;)


Edited by petera650 - Tue, 17 Jun 2008 19:56:56 GMT
post #4 of 5

maybe but oil will have to go much higher in price.


Consider how much a gallon of your local microbrew in beer would cost you to buy. One gallon is 128 ounces, that's about 11 bottles, at $7/six pack that's about $12.80/gallon for beer.

Now multiply that by 20 since beer is generally around 5% alcohol: $256/gallon. This doesn't even count any additional cost of the distillation process.


Now, granted, beer you buy at $7/six pack doesn't cost the local brewery $7 to produce. But if they were to be competitive selling ethanol at $4/gallon they would have to be able to produce their beer for less than 20 cents a gallon. And also Coors was making their ethanol from waste beer, basically stuff they would have to trash otherwise, so this analogy doesn't completely apply.


But this is where economies of scale do come into play. Coors probably has a substantial amount of waste beer to the point where distilling it into ethanol becomes practical. Apparently there is a waste beer refinery plant located right next to the Coors plant in Colorado.

How much waste beer does a microbrewery produce though? What cost per gallon does ethanol need to sell at for there to be a decent ROI to add distillation to ethanol capabilities based on the amount of waste beer produced?


If a microbrewery produces 100 gallons of waste beer a month, that's 20 gallons of ethanol at $4/gallon.  $80/month probably doesn't justify the additional cost of new equipment, as well as the cost of running that equipment. And prodcing only 20 gallons a month does not make for a refueling station unless we seriously increase our fuel efficiencies.


Now, some savvy entrepreneur could possibly set up a waste beer refinery operation that takes waste beer from a network of local microbreweries and create competative ethanol that way.

post #5 of 5

wow, that made me laugh, very interesting, i will have to look into that a little more lol ;-)

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