New technology makes beer green

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Brewing Carbon dioxide Water

Australian brewer Fosters is doing its bit to go green by adopting
a new brewing technology that produces energy via waste products.

Beer it seems, contrary to popular opinion, could actually be a solution to some of the world's problems. The project, funded in part by an Australian government grant, will employ a microbial fuel cell devised by scientists at the University of Queensland (UQ) to generate energy from waste water at Foster's production plant near Brisbane. The unveiling of the new fuel cell comes as food and beverage companies face increased pressure to turn to more environmentally friendly production methods. These methods, it is hoped, can offset growing consumer and government concern over waste products and other harmful omissions. Dr Korneel Rabaey, a research fellow for the UQ's Advanced Wastewater Management Centre (AWMC), believes that with Australia facing increased drought in coming years, protecting and sustaining resources has never been more important. "We must learn how to diversify our portfolio of fuels - and we must learn to reduce our energy and water usage,"​ he stated. The technology within the fuel cell reduces unwanted output by continuously feeding on organic substances like sugar, starch and alcohol found in brewery waste water, which is then turned into Watts, Rabaey said. Along with creating energy, the technology also leaves clean water and non-polluting carbon dioxide as bi-products, he added. A result of collaboration with the University of Ghent, Belgium, and Fosters, the battery is currently pending a patent. With this in place, it is hoped that the fuel cell could be implemented by a number of small to medium size processors within the food and beverage industry.

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