BrewPro Consulting's Alex Postelnek has discovered a way he and other beer-makers can reduce carbon dioxide emissions at their breweries.
Postelnek, a Boca Raton native who owns a business that advises breweries, found at least three ways to reduce the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere during the beer-making process. He dubbed these techniques the "Paris Method," which is named for the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement is an accord among more than 150 countries with the goal of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2. Donald Trump recently withdrew the United States from the agreement, calling it "draconian."
"The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production," Trump said in a speech delivered from the White House's Rose Garden June 1.
Greenhouse gases (GHG) trap heat in the atmosphere. CO2 accounted for 82 percent of greenhouse gases emitted in 2015, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
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A 2014 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted it's "extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in GHG concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together."
Postelnek says millions of pounds of CO2 are leaked into the environment needlessly and has devised a few ways brewers can stop the release of the gas into the environment and also keep more hop aroma and flavor in the beer. The brewing consultant demonstrated his methods at LauderAle Brewery, where he filmed a three-minute video that homebrewers can follow.
Postelnek's Paris Method recommends closing the spunding valve (allowing a set pressure) toward the end of fermentation, using pump pressure rather than CO2 to push beer from the fermenter to the bright tank, thus eliminating "feeding and bleeding," a process whereby carbon dioxide is injected into the bright tank via the carbonation stone and leaking the head pressure. "The thing I don't like about that is it wastes a lot of CO2," Postelnek says. "It puts a lot of these flavor compounds, like hop aroma, that we're trying to capture, and it basically throws it out into the environment. Don't feed and bleed."
Though Postelnek admits one brewery's CO2 emissions likely won't cause significant changes in the environment, if you multiply this amount by thousands of breweries, including largers facilities, "we're talking about a huge amount of CO2 being released into the environment." Postelnek's method is a good way for breweries to play a part in protecting the environment.