New Belgium Has a Plan to Cut Carbon Emissions From Brewing Beer

The Colorado brewer will test an energy-efficient, electrified boiler

Beer being poured against a dark background.
Drinking New Belgium's beer could help cut down on greenhouse gas.
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A Colorado brewer that has attempted to battle global warming in the past is going to implement a plan that will hopefully cut down on its greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the MIT Technology Review.

In partnership with Fort Collins-based startup AtmosZero, New Belgium Brewing will trade out one of the four natural-gas-powered boilers at its main brewery for a first-of-its-kind carbon-neutral electrified boiler. According to AtmosZero, seven percent of global energy is burned to boil water to process steam. Per the company, AtmosZero’s scalable system uses as little as one-half of the electricity of a traditional boiler.

“Our vision is to eliminate emissions with a mass-manufactured high-efficiency drop-in electrified steam generator capable of delivering zero-emission steam at a cost comparable to today’s fossil-fueled boilers,” said AtmosZero CEO Addison Stark.

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The plan is to get the electrified boiler up and running by late 2024 on the way to delivering 100 percent renewable electricity to the brewery by 2030, with the help of Fort Collins Utilities, after upgrading the electrical systems at the brewing facility.

“Our partnership with AtmosZero aligns with our commitment to implement the latest in sustainable technology which allows us to operate our breweries in a manner that doesn’t contribute to irreversible climate change,” said New Belgium COO Joe Davis. “We’re confident that the AtmosZero steam generators will be critical assets in the delivery of our ambitious climate goals by potentially decarbonizing steam at our Fort Collins Brewery.”

Electric boilers are already sometimes used in manufacturing and can be powered by renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. However, they are costly to operate due to the amount of heat they create and what it entails to cool them down. As MIT explains, that’s where AtmosZero’s new technology comes in.

“AtmosZero leans on heat pump technology, which uses electricity to circulate refrigerants with low boiling points through a closed loop,” per the publication. “The device draws in heat from the surrounding air, uses a compressor to increase the temperature of the refrigerant enough to boil water, and then transfers that thermal energy through a heat exchanger into a vessel that produces steam.”

We can’t explain it beyond that, but we’re all for it if it works.


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