Tesla Installs New Powerpack—Solar-Energy Storage Project At Sierra Nevada Brewery

RealClear Staff


     The budding stationary-energy storage industry’s still in mid-bloom, as starter projects pop up in mostly remote areas or where energy’s too costly. However, while keeping with the concept, Tesla’s finding foam factories and wineries are actually high-energy eaters. What better place to put the latest Powerpack 2 installation to the test than the celebrated Sierra Nevada Brewery?

[Source: Electrek.co]

Jackson Family Wines (JFW) welcomed Tesla’s earlier Powerpack projects—prior to the reboot of Tesla Energy division in 2015.

“With Tesla’s stationary energy storage solution, JFW can significantly mitigate energy use around four areas that account for the most consumption in our winemaking process: refrigeration/cooling, lighting, compressed air and process water treatment. Each battery pack will draw electricity from the grid or our onsite, solar arrays during times of low demand and store it for later use to smooth out energy spikes.”

And why not give the same system a whirl with beer? Because the effects are not that different for foam. Therefore, the “Powerpack 2” project will become a permanent part of the brewery. Very recently, Tesla and Sierra Nevada agreed to go kick it at the Chico, California, craft house and install this innovation.

The project’s pertinent points include:

-Location: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Chico operations
-500 kW/1 MWh Powerpack system 
-Sierra Nevada using Powerpack system for peak shaving during brew process
-Tesla Powerpack systems are designed in California and built at Tesla’s Gigafactory in the Reno-Tahoe area of Northern Nevada

[Sierra Nevada Brewery juxtaposed with their on-site Powerpack 2 | Source: Electrek.co]

Not only is Sierra Nevada serving as a revolutionary-battery beacon for other breweries, the EPA awarded them “Green Business of the Year” in 2010! But the good folks at Sierra Nevada jumped on the sustainable-energy bus long ago—they’re trimmed with a 10,751-panel-strong solar array, which will work a bajillion-times better with energy storage.

And they’ll need it all, as the beer-making process requires heavy energy to power it—e.g., brewing, fermenting, filtering and packaging the bottles. Just think...brewing initially requires mashing. All those grains (wheat and malted barley) getting steeped in hot water for up to two hours—just to separate the sugars for fermentation. Once that sweet liquid (aka wort) is gathered from the grain material in the lautering process, it’s another one to two hours of boiling with hops and other heavenly goodness for a fuller flavor and aroma. Upon all that boiling, it has to be brought to room temperature every so quickly. It goes right into the fermenter and yeasted in order to begin the process of becoming booze. The water, liquid and vessel-temperature maintenance makes up a large amount of Sierra Nevada’s electricity bill—Chico does 24/7 suds making so...

Upon one to two weeks of fermentation, they’ve alcoholic foam. However, they still have a few steps entailing filtration, which gives your beer that happy haze and clearness—those parts alone need energy. Therein, by any means they deem necessary, any/all yeast remnants or chunks are extracted and discarded from the fermentation system. Next, the filtered foam gets carbonated via big tanks of Carbon Dioxide or Nitrogen being added to obtain the crafters’ level of carbonation in the packaged product. The bubbly beer’s transported to packaging lines and placed in sterilized cans, kegs, bottles, etc. to be stored away in the warehouse or shipped and finally distributed to be on draught or for suds civilians to enjoy at home. Imagine doing it all on a daily basis—the crux of Sierra Nevada’s operation, which peaks at powerful points (in addition to their heating-and-cooling demands).

[Sierra Nevada in Chico | Photo: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.]

Now that they’re turned on and tuned in to Tesla, the brewery can keep burgeoning beer at the same power level while lowering electricity costs, carbon emissions and its reliance on grid power—so long...

Tesla said its “integrated software enables Powerpack to automatically charge when demand is low then discharge when demand at the brewery is about to spike. This requires no input from the brewery, as the Powerpack learns the site’s behavior and recalibrates continuously to save the company money and energy.”



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