A cornerstone of the circular economy at The Plant is the diversion and use of the spent grain from Whiner Beer Co. brewery. It is the most abundant material in the building and traditionally would be either thrown out or transported great distances. Plant Chicago has been exploring numerous ways in which this material can be used in house, one of these being the creation of a combustible fuel.
Biomass briquettes, as they are known, are a solid material made up of compressed biological matter, usually ‘browns’ such as grains, leaves, mulch and other wood fiber. The benefit of Plant Chicago being able to produce a combustible fuel is that Pleasant House Bakery (another tenant of The Plant) already purchases firewood for their masonry oven. Being able to replace some or all of this outsourced fuel with a product made on site would benefit all businesses involved, as well as The Plant itself.
One of Plant Chicago’s summer interns, Liam Kenny, took on the task of experimenting with methods and formulas for the production of this material.
Check out the PDF below for his results, and stay tuned to our blog for future updates on this project!