Beer Fuel

DNC cars will run on ‘beer’ this summer

The Environmental News Service reports the flex-fuel vehicles at this summer’s Democratic National Convention in Denver will be running on waste beer from Coors Brewing.

Molson Coors is donating all the clean-burning ethanol fuel for the fleet of 400 General Motors flex-fuel vehicles to be used for the convention’s transportation needs. The fleet will be for the use of U.S. House and Senate Leadership, DNC officials and state party chairs, delegates, staff, and members of the media.

Coors’ ethanol is not the corn-based variety — it is made from waste beer generated at the Golden, Colorado, brewery, which now produces about three million gallons annually.

General Motors has pledged that half of the vehicles it produces by 2012 will be flex-fuel capable, and two million flex-fuel vehicles are now on the road. The company currently has 11 flex-fuel models for 2008, and more than 15 planned for 2009.

Comments

  1. einhorn says

    Can someone help me out with “waste beer”?? Are they collecting and distilling their waste?

  2. Jephro says

    einhorn wrote: Can someone help me out with “waste beer”?? Are they collecting and distilling their waste?

    YES! I read an article somewhere last year that they distill their waste beer and the ethanol is part of the 10% that goes in Diamond Shamrock gasoline via Valero Energy Corp.

    http://www.realbeer.com/news/articles/news-002736.php

    On the other hand Valero Energy Corp does not have a very good environmental track record.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond_Shamrock

  3. brewbong says

    Yes, I believe that Valero is the evil empire’s alter-clean and green-ego, Valero=Mobil=Exxon/Esso-Mobil, not a great track record but a great “PR” move, they tricked me into buying gasoline (something I had not done, with their company, since 3/3/89) I realize we all patronize them in one way or another, but there is more hype at work here than anything else. Flex fuels are great if you can derive the ethanol from waste and manufacture it on the spot, like they do with sugar cane waste in Brazil. I seriously doubt that if you took every drop of waste beer in the entire nation and took it to the proper distillation facilities (by tanker truck) and then shipped it to a refinery (once again by truck) to be blended, and then put it in my pick-up truck, I could probably use the entire shoot-and-caboodle in less than a year. Sure it’ll burn cleaner than straight gasoline, but what about all of the fuel used to get it to me. Right now, the ethanol thing is probably doing way more harm than good in the US, particularly as it relates to brewers as a community, all the damn corn and rapeseed being grown is definitely impacting barley and hop acreage, not to mention wheat, which is also used to make bread. Just my opinion, I’m going to have an over-priced sandwich and a beer now.

  4. brewbong says

    Yanked from today’s headlines:
    WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday reduced a $2.5 billion punitive damages award against energy giant Exxon for its role in an infamous 1989 maritime oil spill off the coast of Alaska.
    The high court concluded that punitive damages should roughly match actual damages from the environmental disaster, which were about $507 million. Lower courts were asked to reassess the jury verdict, extending the years-long litigation in the case.
    Lawyers for the plaintiffs claimed the company has deep financial pockets, and noted in their appeal that even a multibillion-dollar judgment amounts only to “barely more than three weeks of Exxon’s net profits.”
    Alaska residents who attended oral arguments in April held signs noting the Texas-based company reported an annual profit last year of $40.6 billion, a record for a U.S. firm.
    Justice Samuel Alito withdrew from deciding the case. Although no reason was given, financial disclosure reports indicated the newest justice had owned substantial amounts of Exxon stock.

    I think that something stinks here. Had Exxon made any punitive compensation, in say the form of a stock based annuity at the time of the tragedy, the entire tab would be paid by now. Your country is being run by big oil, run into a tree at top speed. Out with the incumbents and anyone who thinks like them.

  5. Butcher Scott says

    brewbong wrote: Yes, I believe that Valero is the evil empire’s alter-clean and green-ego, Valero=Mobil=Exxon/Esso-Mobil, not a great track record but a great “PR” move, they tricked me into buying gasoline (something I had not done, with their company, since 3/3/89).

    Not sure where you came up with this, but Valero is not, nor ever has been in any way, the same company as ExxonMobil.

  6. Tlangle1 says

    Lots of emotionally charged misinformation floating around here folks. I won’t speak to the Exxon/Mobil Supreme court verdict because I only know what I read in the newspaper about that.
    In terms of distilling ethanol from waste beer, that’s true. It’s done with separators and dryers. Brewing solids go as animal feed, so beer and sandwiches can be a bit less expensive. In terms of hauling it all over in trucks. That’s not true, it’s done on site, then hauled to the refinery for blending.
    It’s kind of the same way someone hauls just about everything you consume, (food or otherwise), in a truck to a store, then you haul it in your truck, that’s the way the consumer driven “consumption” model currently works in this country. Primarily because you can’t buy locally produced fresh tomatoes, and the like, in Bismark, ND in January, and there is no need for an ethanol distillery on every corner next to the local filling station.
    I think everyone agrees that ethanol is not the long term solution, it’s being leveraged quickly because it can be distributed easily using the current infrastructure. Anyone from the mid-west can tell you, there is plenty of room left to plant corn and everything else in this country. It’s laying fallow collecting gov’t incentives to do so. That’s likely going to change soon.
    C’mon – as a brewing community – let’s put our best foot forward and get positive about folks who are at least trying! Brewer’s have been finding outlets for waste streams for far longer than most industries, why the sour grapes?

  7. brewbong says

    Open mouth insert foot, and continue to blather.
    I started my litany after some ground level observations, without bothering to research. After my local Mobil station had changed its signs to Valero, it continued to get fuel deliveries in trucks that said Mobil. Then I saw another and another, my assumption was that they were in cahoots. A fist full of refineries and thousands of retail outlets acquired legally without violating antitrust laws (which I imagine they are immune to anyway) further clouded my ability to perceive the truth.
    Fact is that throwing good money against bad (your money) is never a good idea. While it is not my intention to discourage anyone trying to do the right thing, patting ourselves on the back for not doing the wrong thing is probably not the best first step on the right road.

  8. SRB says

    So my wife and I were at a birthday disco party Saturday night and a friend mentioned the E-fueler 100. He had read an article about it in the NYT and noticed they mentioned you could use waste alcohol/beer/wine so he thought of SRB’s potential use.
    So all waste beer/wine into a separate holding tank until enough liquid is available to brew a batch then blend or go 100% with an ethanol/gas conversion kit??
    $10,000 is not chump change but the payoff is years not decades.
    sell more pints sell more pints sell more pints sell more pints sell more pints

    matt g

  9. Tlangle1 says

    brewbong wrote: Open mouth insert foot, and continue to blather.
    While it is not my intention to discourage anyone trying to do the right thing, patting ourselves on the back for not doing the wrong thing is probably not the best first step on the right road.

    Huh?

    Okay – what’s your solution?
    Why NOT ethanol for now?

  10. Tlangle1 says

    Technologies are now being developed to use advanced fermentaiton teachniques on spent brewing grains to extract any remaining alcohol potential. Very low carbon footprint there. It has to be done on site to be economically viable. I’d love to hear some viable and economically feasible ideas about how to move it to where people fuel their cars that doesn’t involve burning some carbon (electricity, diesel, etc.), to do so.

  11. brewbong says

    What do you want me to say, that ethanol based fuels are the greatest thing since sliced bread (which is now over $4 a loaf).
    Had the headline read: Coors Brewing Company Takes proceeds from newly installed ethanol distillation facility and installs hydrogen fuel cell fueling station. Democratic National Convention fleet agrees to run on new clean fuel.
    That is truly worthy of a pat on the back, that’s pragmatic, why that’s change I can believe in.

  12. Butcher Scott says

    I look at it from more of a simpleton approach: if you are going to make fuel out of food, be sure you don’t starve people in the process.

  13. Tlangle1 says

    Still reading nothing but “don’t”!
    The investment in hydrogen fuel is poorly thought out.
    Still have to sell the ethanol for “proceeds”, brutha.
    And last I checked, there weren’t a lot of hydrogen fuel customers waiting in line. The road from here to there is covered one step at a time.

    The world wasn’t built on ideas about “don’t” fella’s.
    It was built, and continues to be built by those not afraid to try something new, by moving in increments and continuing to improve. The nay-sayer’s don’t really help except to fuel the imaginations of genius with “I can do this”.

    I suppose, the spent grain could be sent to starving folks in Ethiopia via the Starship Enterprise transporter system fueled by non polluting matter / anti-matter reactors. But that thinking isn’t really going to make a difference to help anyone any time soon, is it. So, I guess the final best idea you’ve got is to throw the grain away. since feeding it to cattle to make beef for folks to eat actually produces prodigious amounts of the atmospheric polluting VOC methane.
    Is that your “change”?

  14. brewbong says

    If I was going to build a teleporter right now I would probably locate the other end in Zimbabwe, those poor folks could really use a break.
    Also, if I had that kind of technology at my avail, I would probably just push the little button next to the cheesy sliding door with the conveyor attached to it and have nice cold one without having to actually produce it.
    No guilt!
    I friggin’ love this!

  15. beerclean says

    Well since America is pretty much the most obese country in the world, maybe we can take a hint form the Flintstones and run off the weight when we want to drive to McDonald’s….

    Just a theory and yes I am overweight by about 20LB so I am included in the whole Barney Rubble Approach.

    NO emissions there just calories that never harmed good ol’ mother earth.

  16. Larry Doyle says

    Now if they could only find a way to recycle all that hot air at both conventions.

  17. NinkasiSwain says

    Well, okay, so the “mushrooms” they reference below don’t look like quite the garden or coffeehouse variety, but…

    Thought these articles were pretty interesting … even if not for now, for when they become more economically viable. Here’s links to three articles on the same topic: “Researchers use fungus to improve corn ethanol production – could cut energy costs by one-third”, “Fungus ups recycling rates for biofuels, “Fungus Could Save Ethanol Plants $800 M”.

    Interesting in the respect that brewing/distilling/biofuels wastewaters might be reclaimed for reuse or conversion to fuel or improved cow fodder. Probably much more possible for biofuels producers directly since they don’t have to deal with that whole human health issue head-on, but will be interesting to see if this aims more directly toward the brewing industry eventually (water conservation, ethanol byproducts, and whatnot).

    I don’t know all the ins-and-outs of what can legally be posted directly, so I’ll just throw some links to the three articles here, and let someone correct me if needs be:

    [INDENT]http://biopact.com/2008/05/researchers-use-fungus-to-improve-corn.html
    http://www.greenbang.com/3269/fungus-ups-recycling-rates-for-biofuels
    http://www.ecogeek.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1949&Itemid=70
    [/INDENT]

  18. tallmatt67 says

    Butcher Scott wrote: I look at it from more of a simpleton approach: if you are going to make fuel out of food, be sure you don’t starve people in the process.

    If your society decides to base agricultural production on free market principles then you can’t fault farmers for selling corn for ethanol.

    By the way, did you know there’s more corn in a 2 liter of soda than in a box of corn flakes? Does high fructose corn syrup really count high on the list of food we should be eating?

    -Matt
    “Ethanol. The cause of and solution to all of America’s problems”

  19. Gregg says

    tallmatt67 wrote: If your society decides to base agricultural production on free market principles then you can’t fault farmers for selling corn for ethanol.

    With due respect, the growing and processing of corn in the U.S. does not even begin to approach free market principles. Funnily enough, “principles” are entirely absent from the reasoning behind this market.

    Does high fructose corn syrup really count high on the list of food we should be eating?

    No, but I doubt it is quite as poisonous as some believe. Sugar = sucrose = glucose+fructose; if your body can process sugar, it can process fructose. The highly-processed aspect of it is more of a concern, and that comes with any refined sweetener. Anyone know any brewers who use HFCS as an adjunct?

    Gregg

  20. Gregg says

    Gregg wrote:
    No, but I doubt it is quite as poisonous as some believe. Sugar = sucrose = glucose+fructose; if your body can process sugar, it can process fructose. The highly-processed aspect of it is more of a concern, and that comes with any refined sweetener.

    Taking this article at face value, it appears there is legitimate concern over the metabolic effects of high-fructose corn sugar (HFCS). The cynical part of me wonders if all the articles playing down these concerns are helpfully promulgated by friends of the corn industry. Life is terribly complicated these days…

    Gregg