How many beers would it take to power Oktoberfest?

A recent trip to one of the most famous beer festivals in the world got me thinking about alternative energy in a very different way.

Picture it – a sea of people dancing on picnic tables in traditional Bavarian garb to traditional Bavarian anthems, and passable versions of American musical “gems” like the disco anthem, “I Will Survive” and Neil Diamond’s, “Sweet Caroline.” And they do so whilst drinking beer. Lots and lots and lots of beer. I mean it – if you don’t like beer, don’t even bother. You can stay home and drink wine.

I didn’t really understand the magnitude of it all until I saw it with my own eyes – an average of 6 million people descend upon the festival each year, consuming an average of more than 7 million liters of beer within a 17-day period.

And it’s no easy feat to power the event. There are currently 14 large and 20 small tents at the festival, that is just the indoor aspect. Outdoors, it is an amusement park sprawling for miles with rides and food stands and lighting, all together using approximately 3 million kWh of electricity. Wow.

So it got me thinking: wouldn’t it be poetic if the very substance that fuels people at this annual festival also helped to power it?

Well, apparently it’s possible, according to this piece I stumbled upon. Grains left over from the process of making beer can be made into fertilizer, but can also be made into bio-gas which, in turn, could help the breweries make the beer. And it’s already happening, as with this one Alaska brewery.

Which means we can’t be too far off from using this as an alternative form of energy, right?

So here is my challenge to all of the engineers out there: can you come up with a formula that uses beer as fuel for power?

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About the author

Ilona Braverman

I am the Newsroom Manager with the corporate communications team. Prior to moving to Zurich, I spent over a decade writing, producing, marketing and production coordinating for Fox News in New York City. When I am not working, or enjoying all of the beautiful cities around me, I am busy dancing, cooking or probably making everyone around me howl with laughter.
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