As a rule, hospitals aren’t all that keen on the alcohol industry. Alcohol, after all, is seen as causing many of the accidents that bring victims through their emergency room doors every day.
But one hospital in LaCrosse, Wisconsin is starting to see the alcohol industry in a totally new light. Gundersen Lutheran Hospital and the local City Brewery are participating in a joint heat and power project with the potential to create about 3 million kilowatt hours of energy a year.
The project consists of capturing the methane gas released by City Brewery during its brewing process, and using it to run a biogas Jenbacher engine which, in turn, feeds electricity into the grid. This electricity is credited to the hospital by Xcel Energy (a local power company), and is just one of the many ways in which Gundersen Lutheran Hospital hopes to reach its goal of becoming 100 percent energy independent by 2014.
But the hospital isn’t the only one gaining from this project. Heat generated from the Jenbacher engine is also being captured and re-used by City Brewery to assist with the brewing process.
Looks like, at least in some circumstances, hospitals and alcohol can get along.