Posted in Beer News, Cool Stuff

Beer & Cheese Gas To Power Hospital

Further proof that beer can do anything.  Gundersen Lutheran Hosptial in La Crosse, Wisconsin is taking aim at being completely energy independent.   That’s not the story.  It’s more like – how are they going to do it?  Beer & cheese gas.  If you’re anything like me, the first thing I think of is beer farts.  High five for that.   The hospital is actually looking at harnessing the energy potential of a biproduct of their production – biogas.

Biogas is produced by the anaerobic (no oxygen) breakdown of biodegradable materials (manure, sewage, plants, etc).  It’s mostly methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2).   These gases can be combusted (like a car engine does) to create an energy release, and used as fuel.  There are a few breweries already doing this to reheat their boilers, including Spoetzel (Shiner) Anheuser-Busch, and MillerCoors.

Gundersen Lutheran is sourcing biogas from local breweries and cheese makers, along with a local landfill in order to power the hospital.  They aim to be completely energy independent by 2014. [Grist]

Side note: contrary to popular belief, the “fart” is comprised more of nitrogen and CO2 than methane.  Now you know.