May 17, 2020

Alaskan Brewing Now Serving 'Beer-Powered Beer'

energy digital
Alaskan Brewing Co
2 min
Brewery to save 70% of energy operating costs
Alaskan Brewing Co is going green, turning to an alternative energy source readily available right under its own roof: beer. Using a boiler system, th...


Alaskan Brewing Co is going green, turning to an alternative energy source readily available right under its own roof: beer.

Using a boiler system, the Juneau-based beer maker uses a $1.8 million furnace to burn the company's wasted grain accumulated from the brewing process into steam to power the facility's operations. Whereas most breweries operating in the Lower 48 would typically send spent grain to nearby farms and ranches to be used as animal feed, there are less options for discarding the grain in Alaska where only 680 farms exist in the entire state (as of 2011).

As the brewery expanded in the mid-1990s, all that excess grain started becoming a problem. Some of it was shipped down to the Lower 48, but drying and shipping the grain was an intensive and expensive process. Not to mention, for every $60 the brewery made on a ton shipped to the Lower 48, it cost them $30.

"We had to be a little more innovative just so that we could do what we love to do, but do it where we're located," Alaskan Brewing co-founder Geoff Larson told The Associated Press. 

Forced to get a little more creative to turn a profit, Alaskan Brewery contracted with a North Dakota company to construct a unique boiler system through a half million dollar grant from the federal Rural Energy for America Program. In about a month, the system is expected to be fully operating and offsetting the company's annual energy costs by about 70 percent, or $450,000.

Alaskan Brewery now jokingly says it's now serving “beer-powered beer.”

Anheuser-Busch InBev has reportedly told The Associated Press that the company, too, is looking for new technologies applicable to its operations. Spent grain from the beer giant is currently being repurposed at local farms, and it is employing bio-energy recovery systems in most of its US breweries.

Image sourced via WordRidden

Read More in Energy Digital's December/January Issue


Share article

Oct 19, 2020

Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process

Scott Birch
3 min
Nevada firm aims to become the primary manganese producer in the United States
Nevada firm aims to become the primary manganese producer in the United States...

Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.

Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.

The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content. 

In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.

Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.

"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president. 

“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.

"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.

Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.

Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.

A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.

The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.

Share article