June 27, 2019, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham
Brewing up new sources of energy
This week we hear from Phil Daykin, Sales and Operations Manager at Lincoln Green Brewery about his experience of hosting a Postgraduate Placements Nottingham (PPN) student.
Lincoln Green Brewery started life in a garage in Mapperley, Nottinghamshire in 2012. Roll forward to today and we now have a 10 bbl brewery in Hucknall which brews four times per week to produce a core range of ales for our Lincoln Green Pubs. We are proud to be part of Nottinghamshire’s strong brewing heritage and we aim to operate in an environmentally aware manner, with a controlled delivery radius and local sourcing of goods and services whenever possible.
With our brewery continuously growing we are always looking at ways of reducing waste and managing our energy consumption. In particular we have a successful project which allows Brewers Spent Grain (BSG), to be collected by local farmers for animal feed from the point of production on a no charge basis. Nonetheless the ‘holy grail’ for what is a regrettably high-energy, high-waste industry has always been a solution that could turn our waste product (BSG) into an alternative, sustainable energy source. In exploring this we quickly hit on the possibility that anaerobic digestion might be able to help us process our waste and produce bio-gas at the same time.
In order to determine if our idea made sense from a scientific and business point of view we needed to call in some specialist help. Here the University of Nottingham’s Postgraduate Placement scheme (PPN) offered us a perfect solution, enabling us to employ one of their talented researchers at low-cost for a time-limited project. Ryan, the postgraduate student we hosted, used his specialist expertise to carry out an audit of our waste production and energy requirements, undertake a literature review on the anaerobic digestion of BSG including process design and operational conditions, forecast predicted biogas yields and digestate considerations, perform laboratory based compositional analysis, and conduct a cost benefit analysis.
Throughout this project I was impressed by the continuous and consistent level of support offered by the faculty and the PPN Postgraduate Placement team at the University. As the employer, we were constantly kept up to speed with the progress of the project which was delivered with full conclusions and on time. We are very hopeful that this collaborative research will provide valuable data for strategically scaling our future expansion plans, as well as helping make us an industry leader in environmental performance and sustainability.
It seems to me that the University of Nottingham Postgraduate Placements scheme (PPN) offers a valuable opportunity to marry high level theory with real life situations and challenges in a seamless and often ground-breaking way. I would certainly recommend the Postgraduate Placement scheme to businesses and postgraduate researchers alike.