Sapporo Succeeds in Cutting CO2 by 60% in Spent Grain Treatment Test

Sapporo Succeeds in Cutting CO2 by 60% in Spent Grain Treatment Test

Sapporo Breweries Ltd., one of Japan's major brewers, has announced the success of an experiment in liquefying spent grain left over from beer brewing in which its volume was reduced by about 50% by using a hydrothermal treatment. With this technology, the organic materials are hydrolyzed at temperatures above the boiling point with the use of highly reactive water. Sapporo Breweries has been promoting this research in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Engineering Laboratory at the Department of Materials Science of the Faculty of Engineering at Shizuoka University.

Spent grain, a by-product of beer production, is now completely recycled as feed for livestock and as fertilizer, but because of its high water content one major challenge has been to reduce the costs of dehydration and drying. With this hydrothermal treatment, the spent grain is reduced in volume and then fermented for biogas. This new recycling method eliminates the dehydration and drying process. As a result, energy consumption can be reduced by about 60%, recycling costs by about 30%, and carbon dioxide emissions by about 60% compared to the existing system.

Sapporo Breweries is also conducting research on applying this hydrothermal treatment technology to recycling other food processing wastes, such as used tea leaves, coffee grounds and bean curd refuse. The technology will help food-related businesses comply with Japan's Food Recycling Law, which requires them to curb the generation of food waste, recycle it, and reduce its volume. It also contributes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The company plans to promote further research on practical applications, aiming to introduce the technology into its own factories, as well as to sell the equipment to other food manufacturers.
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