While many of us enjoy a cold beer on a warm summer’s evening in the garden, at a barbeque and of course while staying in glamping UK accommodation, have you ever considered that drinking more beer could indeed help to protect this ball of stuff we call home? Just to clarify, this doesn’t mean heading to the local to sink half a dozen, we are actually talking about a New Zealand-based brewery who have come up with an ingenious creation that produces a fuel made using beer waste.
DB Exports, owned by parent company Heineken, has begun to produce ‘Brewtroleum’, a bioethanol fuel made as a bi-product from the brewing process. A team at DB have so far only created the fuel on a small scale, but have distributed it to a number of South Island petrol stations as a trial. At the moment it’s believed the batch they’ve distributed will only last six weeks.
As far as this innovation is concerned it is a world first, and it has genuine scope to help to save the planet, the reason being the fuel does not leave a large a carbon footprint, unlike other commonly used fuels. A result of 10% bioethanol and 90% petrol, the fuel’s inventors claim the fuel produces as much as 8% less carbon emissions than petroleum on its own.
The biofuel works by using the leftover yeast that is created during the beer brewing process and extracting the ethanol that’s produced when yeast consumes sugar in the ingredients. The collected ethanol can then be added to standard petrol to fuel a motor vehicle.
DB Exports currently produce 150,000 litres of this yeast by-product annually, and often use it to help feed livestock in New Zealand.
So we have ascertained that the process is perfectly viable, the question is, why aren’t all the breweries at it? Well, some experts believe that it mightn’t be financially viable to produce the fuel on a large scale, on a count of the energy needed to extract the ethanol. However, if the fuel was going to be produced on a regular scale, one proposal is that a plant powered on renewable energy could/would do the processing.
One other point worth making is that at the moment, as surprising as this may sound, the world isn’t drinking enough beer to produce this kind of fuel on a worldwide scale, but it’s certainly encouraging to see these kind of advances in economically friendly solutions to make a change in the world.