Vast quantities of beer in South Australia ended up going stale due to reduced sales at pubs and restaurants amid restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but this liquid is now being used to provide power to a wastewater treatment facility instead of simply going down the drain, ABC News reports.
According to the media outlet, the beer gets poured into "digester" tanks at the Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant, located west of Adelaide. Inside those tanks, the alcoholic beverage mixes with sewage sludge, producing biogas which then "feeds" gas engines that produce electricity, thus powering the facility.
SA Water senior manager of production and treatment Lisa Hannant explained that they've been able to help the industry "through the height" of the coronavirus pandemic, adding that they've "accepted around 150,000 litres of beer each week" which, as it turns out, "would be the equivalent of powering around 1,200 houses".
"The beer is a really great waste to add into our digester because it has such a high energy value to it”, she said. "That just means we get a greater production of the gas which we can feed to the engine and it creates much more electricity for us to use."
Hannant described this situation as win-win for both SA Water and its customers, as the former is able to reduce costs by generating their own electricity, while the latter essentially get a reduction of "their disposal and treatment costs."
"We're always looking for additional trade waste customers to bring in high-strength organic waste," she added. "It's a matter of working with the industry so we can try and get as much high-organic waste as we can into the plant, but also help them out."
And while the beer SA Water has so far received comes from "larger organisations in South Australia", smaller breweries are also being encouraged to follow suit, the media outlet adds.