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Coronavirus: Australia’s unsold beer provides renewable energy

Millions of gallons of unused beer which expired during COVID-19 lockdowns are being converted into renewable energy to power a water-treatment plant in South Australia.

The country’s lockdown has forced bars and restaurants to remain closed since March, leaving massive stores of beer to expire.

But instead of pouring it down the drain some breweries sent their suds to the Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant outside Adelaide. 

There it’s processed into biogas, which is then turned into electricity to run the facility. 

With its high caloric content, beer is an ideal fuel for the plant’s ‘digesters.’  

The plant typically gets about 80 percent of its energy from biogas, CNN reported.

But the addition of nearly 40,000 gallons of stale beer a week has boosted energy production to 654 megawatt hours in a single month, or enough to power 1,200 homes.

The lockdown has devastated Australia’s $14 billion-plus bar industry, which is comprised of over 10,000 pubs and clubs. 

One of the country’s largest breweries is giving away more than 200,000 pints of beer to help keep local venues afloat. 

As part of Carlton and United Breweries’ ‘For the Love of Your Local’ campaign, people were invited to go online and buy a ‘virtual’ pint from their favorite pub. 

When restrictions are lifted, participants can redeem a voucher and enjoy their beer – plus a second pint free, courtesy of CUB. 

The brewery is expecting to give away about $1.4 million worth of beer. The vouchers are good for three years. 

‘Australian pubs and clubs have already been shut for two months and the fact is many of these beloved venues won’t make it through this crisis without extra help,’ Carlton and United CEO Peter Filipovic said. ‘So, we’re calling on Australians to help save their local and get free beer in the process.’ 

While Australia has had fewer cases of coronavirus than many other nations, Wednesday marked its deadliest day of the pandemic. In Victoria, 410 new cases and 21 deaths were reported over a 24-hour period.

Last week, a cluster of infections in Melbourne forced authorities to impose a night curfew, tighten restrictions on people’s daily movements, and order large parts of the state economy to close, as reported by Reuters.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that while the number of cases were trending down, the impact of the strict new lockdown measures was yet to show up in the case numbers.

‘We all know that a week is not the life cycle of this virus … and our experts remain firm in the view that this will drive the numbers down,’ he told reporters.

Only Victoria and New South Wales, the country’s most populous state, reported new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. 

Australia has reported just over 22,000 infections and 352 deaths from the virus.

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