Novel approaches to recycling of production waste from yeast propagation

Sustainability Session
Neva Parker, White Labs, Inc, San Diego, California, USA

ABSTRACT: With an ever-growing demand for manufacturing in the beer industry, a large carbon footprint can be created from various processes. Since regional and craft brewing have displayed marked increases in prior years, demand for fermentation yeast through propagation has increased significantly. The yeast production process itself can create a high volume of both water waste and solid product waste from spent or discarded yeast slurries. Propagating yeast that is suitable for successful brewing also typically results in high energy demands. In an effort to achieve a minimal environmental impact, recapturing waste from the propagation process, as well as any spent product, is of critical importance. Using technology such as tangential filtration, laboratories are capable of recycling spent growth media from yeast propagations and producing what is essentially water, which can be carried back through processing. This obtained water can be used for applications ranging from cleaning to further production of growth medium. In addition, the yeast itself can be repurposed. Yeast that is slated to be discarded or even spent yeast from production or lab-scale fermentations can be treated to produce yeast nutrients that would, again, be returned to the cycle. To maintain a minimal amount of energy to execute the reprocessing, a few components need to be put into place in the plant. This presentation covers the specific methods used to repurpose both spent growth media and discarded yeast, while maintaining a minimal energy load, and broadening the manufacturer’s sustainability within the global market.

Neva Parker has been with White Labs, Inc. since 2002. She earned her bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, and first became interested in the brewing industry while studying abroad in London. Neva currently manages laboratory operations for headquarters in San Diego and the R&D facility in Davis, CA. She is also responsible for developing the White Labs training and consulting program. She has presented at several workshops and conferences and published articles for brewing magazines. She is an active member of the American Society of Brewing Chemists and the Master Brewers Association of the Americas.