When Australia’s bars and restaurants closed down in March because of COVID-19, huge stores of beer went stale. Those ales haven’t gone to waste though. They’re being turned into renewable energy–enough to power 1,200 homes in a month.
Outside Adelaide in South Australia, almost 40,000 gallons of expired beer has been donated every week to a local water treatment plant. That beer is converted into biogas, which then gets used as electricity to power the plant.
And, best of all, the beer donations have boosted energy production to giddy new levels, thanks to its high calorie content.
CNN reports that Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is owned by the South Australian Government, normally gets about 80 percent of its energy needs from local biogas made from organic industrial waste and sewage sludge.
Now, says Lisa Hannant, senior manager of production and treatment, says the stale beer is releasing impressive amounts of energy and the plant is setting records.
“By adding around 150,000 liters of expired beer per week, we generated a record 355,200 cubic meters of biogas in May and another 320,000 cubic metres in June, which is enough to power 1,200 houses,” Hannant said to CNN.
“Honorably,” she noted, “our thirsty digesters have been doing their bit for the environment by drinking themselves silly—and with such a horrific diet it’s no wonder they produce so much gas!”