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Mark Major
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Hi.
I own a brewery in Japan and will probably be expanding with a new brewery with a restaurant and bar in a couple of years. When I do this I want to be as energy efficient/independent as I can.
I plan on using solar panels for daytime generation.
Breweries use a lot of water so I was thinking if I pumped water to a 100,000 Lt tank on the roof and then dropped it through a narrowing pipe and into a generator at ground level what kind of output could I anticipate? The building will probably be 10-12 metres high with the tank on top of that. I am open to suggestions as to starting width and finishing widths on the downpipe for best volume/speed to power.
Would it be possible to power the whole thing or would that be impossible?
How much energy would it take to pump water to the roof compared to how much energy we could produce? The brewery will be on the second floor.
Any advice or information you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers
 
John Weiland
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Location: RRV of da Nort
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@Mark M."Would it be possible to power the whole thing or would that be impossible?"

I'm going to let the more energy savvy do the more heavy lifting on this response.  Was just thinking, however, that you may wish to add what kind of power sources are currently used in the facility.  Are you looking to power both the brewery and the restaurant/bar?  Does the restaurant use gas for cooking or electric?  Just off the top of my head I would think that you would not have enough potential energy in that tank for your needs, but again will let others make that call.  Even in the event that it can't provide the power you need, would there be a way for it to provide some aspect of energy for the building that would allow you to "showcase" the use of micro-hydro to the customers who visit the brewery?  Sounds like an interesting venture!

Edit:  I noticed that the restaurant/bar part will be new expansion, correct?.....So that will be easier to design from the ground up versus retrofitting the current facility.
 
Mark Major
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Yes, this will be a new brewery.
In the bars and brewery we have now we use gas and electricity. Gas for ovens, hotplates and hot water and electricity for everything else. Gas for the boiler in the brewery also.
Will probably go this way in the new place unless I receive better advice.
Thanks fr the quick response.
Cheers.
 
David Livingston
steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Hi Mark
While your idea for pumping water to store energy can work it's only practical on a very large scale due to cost and poor efficiency. As for making your undertaking green and money efficient first of all I would suggest an audit of how much energy you are using at the moment and how much you could save by using increased insulation ,maybe going all electric may be recycling  waste energy out put etc all of these are more likely to give you a better cost return than buying electrical generating equipment .
Only when you have exhausted these savings and have a good idea of what your requirements will be would I think about either micro hydro , wind or solar panels . For these I would consider two factors location and cost return . Whilst going off grid might sound great the risk of brakedowns whilst in the middle of a brew ...The practicality of your site will dictate which type of generation would suit your needs.  I would suggest talking to your local electric company about exchanging your surplus electric for times you are not generating and see if they can help you with a deal . Maybe they could set up sort of joint publicity a green green beer for example.
 
Steven Kovacs
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Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
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Mark Major wrote:Hi.
I own a brewery in Japan and will probably be expanding with a new brewery with a restaurant and bar in a couple of years. When I do this I want to be as energy efficient/independent as I can.
I plan on using solar panels for daytime generation.
Breweries use a lot of water so I was thinking if I pumped water to a 100,000 Lt tank on the roof and then dropped it through a narrowing pipe and into a generator at ground level what kind of output could I anticipate? The building will probably be 10-12 metres high with the tank on top of that. I am open to suggestions as to starting width and finishing widths on the downpipe for best volume/speed to power.
Would it be possible to power the whole thing or would that be impossible?
How much energy would it take to pump water to the roof compared to how much energy we could produce? The brewery will be on the second floor.
Any advice or information you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers


The amount of energy you can store is mass*height*gravitational acceleration, or (100,000 kg)*(10 m)*9.8 m/s/s = 98,000,000 J = 9.8 MJ which might be enough to be useful - it's about 10 times as much as the average house uses in a day.
You will get less than that due to losses in the system.
You'll also have to build a very strong structure to hold 100,000 kg of water (about 1,100 tons if I did the math right).
 
Mark Major
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One of my buddies in Canada started an insulated building panel business so I am planning on importing those for the building itself.
Our main fridge for our beer will be in the basement lined with insulated panels to reduce cost there.
As far as cost goes, are there ongoing costs? I can understand the inefficiency but once you have the tank and the generator what other costs are there?
If I am building a brewery I will be buying a bunch of tanks anyway so one more shouldn't wipe me out financially. The government also gives grants for renewable power creation, at least for solar panels.
I definitely do not intend to go off-grid for this but would like to get my electrical energy costs as close to zero as possible.
As a rough estimate of the night being twelve hours, 100,000 Lt comes out to around two Lt per second. Dropping through a narrowing pipe to increase speed and pressure what kind of power generation could I be looking at? Even if it is inefficient could I create enough energy to pay off the tank and generator over five years or less? That would be worth it for me.
Part of this idea is that a brewery goes through a huge amount of water, cleaning the brewhouse itself after every brew, cleaning each tank after the beer is moved to either a different tank or to kegs and then cleaning every keg after it is used. All of that water just going down the drains seems a huge waste. If I could flush the toilets with it and use it for power generation I could use most of our water twice and if most of that was producing energy at the same time it would lower our costs while making us a greener company.
Anyway, thanks for the responses so far.
Cheers.
 
David Livingston
steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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I hear what you are saying and certainly gravity fed stuff is cheaper than pumping water up a hill but I have yet to see a small scale system of water x hight storage pay for its self other than using water to pump water up a hill ( see ramjets ) 
 
The cheapest way if you have the correct site is to go totally solar and do an electric swap with your electric company I would talk to them about this in advance you may get some sort of deal . Converting electric to pump water then to use the water to make more electricity will never be cost efficient on the scale you envisage with current technology as I know it .
 
Glenn Herbert
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Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
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You are going to use more energy to pump the water up to the storage tank than you can generate by running a turbine with it. Unless you have extremely low-cost energy when you do the pumping, you will not save money, and you cannot save energy, just by the laws of thermodynamics.

Commercial pumped-storage generation makes sense because there is solar or wind energy generated at certain times that cannot be used then, and pumping water up for later use is less wasteful than simply dumping the energy. If this will be your case in your new construction, go for it.

Now if you had elevation changes such that you could just drain the water from your brewery use to a generator at the bottom of a hill or cliff and run wires back up, that would be a positive setup that could pay itself back.
 
Mark Major
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Food for thought.
I still have plenty of time and have not decided on a place yet.
Thanks for all the advice.
 
John Weiland
Posts: 950
Location: RRV of da Nort
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Mark,  Yet another concept of which to keep aware:  http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2016/10/07/Researchers-turn-brewery-wastewater-into-energy-storage-cells/1151475858303/?spt=hs&or=sn
 
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