Designing a chemical production process for a fire extinguishing agent from beer waste. A case study at Nile Breweries Limited
Natukunda, Mark Lynin
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Since basic ingredients of beer are water; a starch source, such as malted barley, able to be saccharified (converted to sugars) then fermented (converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide); (Rob De La Rosa, 2006). Then, considering the basic components of beer waste to be water and carbon dioxide, how best can this beer waste be utilized? Apart from water which is present in beer waste, carbon dioxide [CO2] is also used in fire extinguishing: which is normally dissolved in beer waste to some composition. Foam which can also be produced by pressurizing the beer waste is utilized in firefighting. The role of foam in firefighting is to cool the fire and to coat the fuel, preventing its contact with oxygen, resulting in suppression of the combustion. In a brewery it takes averagely 7 liters of water, plus other resources to make just one liter of beer. It is therefore a loss to a brewery if beer waste is just poured away and not even recycled. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a key component of beer; however, the amount of carbon dioxide within beer is dramatically affected by temperature and pressure. The carbon dioxide level in beer dependent on its solubility, which in turn is affected by majorly temperature and containing pressure. This process design of making an extinguishing agent using beer waste relates generally to a firefighting liquid for fighting A and B class type of fires or other area fires, where the combustion is caused by the chemical reaction of fuel and oxygen in the presence of heat. It relates more specifically to the use of large foam bubbles from a saponaceous extinguishing liquid to fill a premise that is on fire, and to shut off the oxygen to the fire. By rapidly inflating millions of bubbles of carbon dioxide in beer waste, and pumping them into the room that is afire, there is a minimum of residue after the fire, since almost all of the mixture is gas. Here the ratio of the volume of bubbles to the volume of liquid used may be in the hundreds, and by using only a few gallons of liquid, it is possible to make a room full of bubbles that seals out all outside air to the fire. And the bubbles that burst release a gas, which is incombustible.