VEGA News Item

Adnams goes Anerobic on Brewery Waste - 05/10/2010

Adnams is to Open the First Anerobic Digestion Plant in the UK to Run on Brewery Waste

1.  Adnams is to open the first anerobic digestion plant in the UK to run on brewery waste. The famous brewery at Southwold in Suffolk has for long been a supplier of food yeasts as co-products for commodities such as Marmite and by-products for feedstuffs for pigs around the brewery on farms owned by Adnams, these being products normally regarded of added value, but not worth the costs of long journeys to appropriate factors and thence into the trade in retail for human consumers, even when Marmite tries further marketing stunts in special versions of concoctions of vegetable flavorings with a distinctive umami taste.

2.  Anerobic digestion is now a popular means of disposing of food wastes in a thrifty and environmentally acceptable way. The process is not new. Fifty years ago farmers and biologists went in parties to wonder at the output of methane from Mogden Sewage Works at Isleworth in Middlesex, where the “waste” was similarly treated and the tractors on site were powered by the gases generated as biofuels.

3.  Post-BSE regulations on disposals of farming and manufacturing wastes (especially from slaughterhouses) are relaxing precautions, particularly where environmental matters are paramount; these might apply to water courses. The product left after the digestion at Isleworth was sold off for mushroom growers and then as final products suitable as bagged fertilizer for the gardeners of Middlesex or direct as “Mogadon.” The appearance of tomato plantlets after applications of this fertilizer reminded gardeners and allotment holders of the probable provenance of their fertilizer.

4.  Adnams plant, due to open in the next 2 or 3 weeks, will convert brewery waste, as well as food waste from the area, to produce 4.8 million KW hr a year. The biomethane will at first be used to generate electricity. The residual “waste”, called digestate, will be used to fertilize Adnams barley crops. “This facility will have a major impact on the reduction of carbon emissions in the region,” states CEO Andy Wood. On a wider scale biomethane may be generated, collected, and utilized as a fuel from landfills and from farms. For a long time brewers have been using brewers’ grains and trubs as feeds for animals; being rich in protein they could be suitable for further treatment as foods for human consumption, as well as yeast extracts, provided that the starchy fibrous material with is strong umami flavor can be increased in digestibility. The processes of silaging and haylaging illustrate on farm means of preservation and use of crops more convenient than harvesting grass and making haystocks, and return to processes initiated at Rothamsted Research Station to develop proteinaceous “green” leaf protein, now show more promise in yielding foods such as cheeses and milks without exploitation of cow and calf. Removal of the green coloring remains a problem.


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