News Research

Published on February 14, 2017 | by Alastair Gilmour

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A lot of research goes down the drain

The North East brewing sector is being encouraged by Newcastle University’s Institute for Sustainability to share examples of best practice and to do their bit to help reduce the footprint of the craft beer industry.

Research, lead by the university’s own Stu Brew microbrewery, has concluded that investigations into waste product disposal – spent water, grain and yeast – should be shared among the region’s brewing network. This includes brewers’ grain used to generate energy from anaerobic digestion with a high conversion to biogas and low-cost water monitoring to reduce resource use and minimising waste throughout.

The 50 or so breweries in Tyneside and Northumberland produce approximately 3.6 million litres of beer annually, using 21.3 million litres of water. Stu Brew’s figures show that this level of production requires 1.8 gigawatts of electricity – the equivalent energy generated by 720 wind turbines. Tank cleaning is also a huge consideration in energy use and disposal.

The Stu Brew research showed that 50% of respondents to a recent survey were “very concerned” by the level of sustainability of their brewery . Further details and information on future brewing research activities can be had from Dr Chris O’Malley at the School of Engineering & Advanced Materials (chris.o’malley@ncl.ac.uk)


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Alastair Gilmour



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