Biogas plants
at beer breweries

Biogas plants at beer breweries

Breweries produce spent grain and wastewater from the brewing process. Spent grain and effluents are substrates for biogas production in anaerobic digestion plants.


Spent grain

The main brewery waste is spent grain. Other process wastes are stale beer and yeast residues.

It can be and should be processed into biogas. Additionally, expired beer and yeast residues can be processed. There are two alternative ways to process beer spent grains: drygrains or biogas.

It was considered that drying spent grain is cheaper and better than a biogas plant. However, dry feed competes with fresh grain. When there is grain overproduction on the agricultural market, grain has a low price. And dry feed is difficult to sell, and drying is unprofitable. Drying is just a way to get rid of waste.

Spent grain recycling into biogas is possible both as a replacement for natural gas in brewery boilers and as well as for power generation.

Spent grain consists of 25% solids. Therefore, it can be processed using high-load reactor technology (HLR). With the direct replacement of natural gas by biogas in boilers, the capital costs for a biogas plant are lower because there is no need to buy a generator.

Taken together, these two factors (high-load reactors and generator savings) lead to investment in a biogas plant can be compared to an investment in drying.

A biogas plant is ultimately a more economical option than spent grain drying. The payback time for such a biogas project is 2-3 years. Unlike drying, biogas plants don’t consume but rather produce energy.

Comparing the payback time of a drying plant to that of a biogas plant, it is correct not only to count the direct benefits of the produced biogas but also to count natural gas savings from not drying spent grain.

Dryer or biogas plant?

Zorg Biogas has built biogas plants for a wide variety of substrates: distillery wastewater, carrot pulp, sugar beet pulp, corn silage. These types of raw materials are similar to spent grains. Also Zorg Biogas did lab test of spent grains. That's why Zorg Biogas is able to build a biogas plant on spent grain.

In addition to spent grain processing in biogas reactors, breweries also have projects of the utilisation of the biogas, produced by wastewater treatment plants. Zorg has designed and supplied gas treatment equipment for several well-known beer brands

To calculate your offer for a biogas plant, please fill out a questionnaire for breweries.

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