MIT Grad’s Invention Turns Brewery Waste Into Fuel

Eric Fitch holds a Magic Hat glass in front of the digester building at the brewery in South Burlington, Vt. The Vermont brewery is giving new meaning to the idea of green beer. (TOBY TALBOT/Associated Press)

Written by John Curran for

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. — Before he started “saving the Earth, one beer at a time,” all inventor Eric Fitch knew about home brewing was that it could make quite a mess.

Once, he accidentally backed up the plumbing in his apartment building by dumping into his garbage disposal the spent grain left over from his India Pale Ale home brew. The oatmeal-looking gunk choked the pipes in his Cambridge, Mass., building, flooding the basement.

These days, he is doing something more constructive, fulfilling the dream of beer lovers everywhere by recycling the stuff: The MIT-trained mechanical engineer has invented a patented device that turns brewery waste into natural gas that is used to fuel the brewing process.
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