Waste Management

Waste Not, Want Not: New tech provides a solution for brewery waste

As the Business of Drinks we occasionally come across interesting new technologies that might be of interest to the Brewing Industry.

We are starting a new set of articles where every few months we will highlight a new technology or product that might be of interest to brewing companies.

Sometimes new technology that comes from the “Left field” can be really relevant but has a problem becoming known in the market place as it is either very new or not associated with the industry in question. As 'The Business of Drinks' we will try to air these technologies to the industry.

Today we are looking at the problem of disposing of the spent grain, hops and waste fluid from the brewery and suggesting that Bio-Thermic Digester technology may be of interest for those breweries where the volume has grown beyond the “Leave it in waste bins for the farmer to collect”.


Forward thinking breweries and other drinks producers are always seeking more sustainable ways to reduce waste, recover by-products and reduce costs of waste disposal. For example, some by-products of the brewing process – spent yeast and spent grains – can be transformed into potentially valuable products and a substantial amount of beer can be recovered in the main wort and beer lines, reducing volumes of waste for disposal dramatically.

Waste outputs from breweries are large in bulk and high in moisture. A typical small brewery brewing 3000 litres three times a week will have around two tons of spent grain to dispose of every week. A larger brewery may have up to 4 tons per day to remove and a large regional brewery could easily generate ten times this amount.

Historically, the major avenue for disposal has been to agricultural use, either as animal feed or as a soil improver and for breweries located near to farms this has been an easy option. However reductions in dairy farming, restrictions on farm movements due to disease and legislation have limited this avenue. Additionally, when we take into account the fact that many breweries are in cities, nowhere near to a free agricultural disposal source, it becomes evident that there is a pressing need for broader options for disposal.

Whilst there are distinct waste products of the brewing process, these are often split into waste liquid flow discharged into the sewers after suitable costly treatment or removed in another way and spent grain & hops. Brewery sludge can be difficult to handle precisely because of its mixed and variable composition.

A larger brewery may well treat this sludge with a system involving a trickling effluent process culminating in an anaerobic digester before discharge into the main sewer. This is an expensive process which needs constant monitoring and a high degree of record keeping to ensure that discharge remains within consent levels. Also, there remains a residual sludge at the bottom of the settlement tank which still requires disposal.

There is a new, green, cost effective solution for any brewery or other drinks producer who generates sludge or solid waste in considerable quantities.

Bio Thermic Digester Technology

This is an environmentally friendly waste reduction solution, -  an innovative, in-vessel solution engineered to rapidly digest organic waste. These units can deliver up to a 90% reduction in mass from mixed organic waste streams, within 48-72 hours, delivering substantial and immediate savings against current and future waste disposal costs, whilst improving the customers’ green and carbon credentials. These units have a small footprint and can process daily from 500kg to 10 tons of mixed waste within one facility, reducing the need to rely on multiple service providers.

A waste reduction in excess of 60% can be achieved. On a trial with a soft drinks fruit company a reduction of 80% was achieved, which far exceeded the original target and expectation. Waste reduction of this magnitude represents significant cost savings of up to 20% against any commercial waste collection costs,

Additionally, there is a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of a business where large volumes of its waste is no longer collected, transported and dumped in a landfill.

Businesses are increasingly competing to shout about their green credentials and ways in which they have taken action to reduce their environmental impact. This is because informed business owners are aware that they face growing scrutiny from an ever-more discerning public.

Added to this is the fact that the post reduction digestate from the Bio thermic Digester is of a significantly smaller volume, dry, easy to handle, and has potential commercial value as a soil improver, then the case for considering this technology can become quite compelling

If you would like to know more about this technology please contact.

Larry Grant
Telephone : 0203 868 2530 or email info@edenecosolutions.com

Larry is the Founder and CEO of Eden Eco Solutions Ltd, a company specialising in delivering Waste, Water & Energy solutions that are “Good for your business. Great for our world.”

Download additional information on Eden Eco Solutions waste solutions here