Why have beer companies led the way in sustainable manufacturing?
Ken Grossman: As a manufacturer who consumes lots of water and energy, we wanted to be a leader in lowering our impact. PM: How self-sufficient is Sierra Nevada? KG: We are 100 percent [self-sufficient] or selling back to the grid at sunlight hours. Overall, we’re close to 90 percent with fuel cells, solar panels and our biogas compressor. Baseline use for production is about 2.1 to 2.3 megawatts depending on ambient temperature (and the refrigeration load needed at the time). At night needs drop off. PM: How important is energy efficiency? KG: Heat exchangers are our main source of efficiency, prewarming our water for the next batch of beer. Economizers sit above the boilers and recapture the flu heat—preheating the water to go into the boilers, and we’ve just upgraded our boilers with things like frequency control and blowers to better match combustion air with fuel. This is coupled with real-time stack monitors that are fed into the heat exchanger. Combined, we probably increase our