Circular economy

Need a full tank? In New Zealand they fill it with brewery waste

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

Brewtroleum currently under test: a mix of premium gas and bioethanol produced from brewery waste.

A pint for me, 10 pints of Brewtroleum for my car. The Southern Hemishpere could soon get used to bizarre orders of this kind. New Zealand, in effect, is going to market for a limited time an original mix of gasoline and bioethanol – the so-called Brewtroleum – that is obtained by recycling brewery waste.

This is not the first attempt to quench the cars’ thirst with the precious fermented nectar: Molson Coors had started an experiment to synthesize fuel from beer waste as early as in 1996. Until now, however, nobody had embarked in such a large-scale project.

This time, the promoter of this “alcoholic” challenge is DB Export, a beer producer who started a pilot project with 60 gas stations located everywhere in New Zealand. The production of the tasty fuel required 30thousand litres of ethanol, which were obtained through the fermentation of hop by-products and later mixed with premium gas in a 1:9 proportion. Such a low share is due to the fact that many cars are still unable to function with high ethanol percentages.

Quite a crazy idea, admits Sean O’Donnell, the DB Export marketing head, one that came up after a couple of beers: “We saw the opportunity to take the natural by-product of the brewing process and turn it into something that can genuinely help the environment”.

Brewtroleum is actually rather sober from an environmental point of view: its carbon emissions are 8% lower than gasoline emissions, without any performance difference. The project for now is just in the test phase and will be run for a limited time. The company, however, hopes to market the product for a long-term period after analysing the consumers’ demands and completing the necessary feasibility studies.

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