This beloved brewery gets electricity from its own beer. Yup: beer energy!

After more than a decade of delicious craft-beer-making, Magic Hat Brewery had grown into a major operation.

They got so big, in fact, that they ... actually couldn't get any bigger.

By 2007, Magic Hat was making more than 3.3 million gallons of beer a year. More than 90% of that final product was water, which was a major problem for the town of South Burlington, Vermont. (And that's not even counting the water used in cleaning and other aspects of production, too.)


As it was, the brewery's water bills were costing them about $200,000 a year, and the treatment facilities in their hometown were already working at full capacity. They wanted to start making more beer. But if they did, there wouldn't be any water left for the city's 18,000 residents.

Inside the "Artifactory" at the Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington, Vermont. All photos by Thom Dunn/Upworthy, unless otherwise specified.

The brewery owners thought about building their own water treatment plant right at their brewery. But then a better idea presented itself.

PurposeEnergy, a small start-up founded by an MIT graduate named Eric Fitch, approached Magic Hat and offered to solve their water problem.

Fitch had been working on a prototype for what he called the "tribrid bioreactor." It was a hybrid of three different digester systems that would not only clean a brewery's wastewater, but also convert the biosolid waste (which is organic material such as spent grains, hops, and trub) into electricity.

Fitch had been looking for a place to put his prototype into action. Magic Hat was looking for ways to expand without ruining the city's water supply. It was a match made in Hop Heaven.

Converting their leftover beer parts into sustainable electricity? That was just an added bonus.

Hasper Kuno of PurposeEnergy inside the company's biogas generator at the Magic Hat Brewery.

How does something called a tribrid bioreactor work, exactly?

Basically, like this:

Image courtesy of Magic Hat Brewery and PurposeEnergy, used with permission.

"We basically allow Magic Hat to keep on expanding their production and not really be a burden on the local town," explained Hasper Kuno, who oversees PurposeEnergy's facility in South Burlington.

"What we send down the drain here, it’s literally cleaner than your typical household. And also we’re producing electricity on it, so it’s a no-brainer."

The thin black sludge on the left is how digested beer waste looks coming out of the digester; the clear cup on the right is how it looks after it's gone through the system's water clarifier.

According to Kuno, PurposeEnergy's tribrid bioreactor system can convert 93% of the brewery's waste into biogas and then electricity, allowing them to produce up to 220 kilowatts of energy daily — enough to power more than 200 average-size homes. Over the last five years, they've cumulatively produced more than 2.4 gigawatts of energy — which is twice as much as it took Doc Brown to power the Flux Capacitor that sent his beloved DeLorean back in time in "Back to the Future." So that's a lot.

"As far as we know, this is the most efficient digester in the world," Kuno said.

Oh, and that leftover 7% of waste that doesn't get converted into energy? It's still rich enough in nutrients to work as a hyper-concentrated fertilizer, which PurposeEnergy gives away to local farms — that is, when they're not using it as a soil substitute to grow their own hops.

Hops growing up the side of the water treatment tank behind the Magic Hat Brewery — with no actual soil, just a plant bed of leftover biowaste. So far, the hops are only being used for homebrewing, not commercial beer.

Since 2010, several other major U.S. breweries have adopted PurposeEnergy's epically sustainable brewing system too.

The bioreactor at Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery is twice the size of the one at Magic Hat. The 1 million gallon system was built in 2014, and it has enabled the brewery to reduce its overall water consumption by more than half.

And in March 2016, PurposeEnergy broke ground on another new facility at Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii.

Kuno believes that big breweries will eventually hop on board with this trend, too. Companies like Molson Coors already have their own water treatment facilities on-premises, but the systems at those breweries have a life span of around 50 years.

"When that time is up, then we’ll come in and get them a new digester," Kuno said.

"No parking" because this is where the burn-off from the gas-to-energy conversion happens — meaning that big copper pipe sometimes shoots out fireballs, which are much less tasty than beer.

The best part about this whole thing? This sustainability system isn't limited to just beer.

As long as there's some kind of organic waste in a system, the bioreactor can convert it into energy.

"We’ve got a couple of dairies that we’re hoping to install some systems," Kuno said. "Acid whey makes a lot of electricity, and that’s the byproduct of Greek yogurt, which is huge right now."

If a brewery could power an entire neighborhood with just its own beer, who knows what other amazing ways we can find to make our world more sustainable?

Heroes

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture