The Planet

Scientists Crack the Secret of Turning Beer into Gasoline

by Rafi Schwartz

July 24, 2015
image via youtube screen capture

Leave it to New Zealand to come up with the one, and only, instance where the combination of “alcohol” and “automobiles” is actually a good thing. There, local brewer DB Export has developed a new type of eco-friendly biofuel, the sin qua non for which is, yes, you guessed it—beer. 

Okay, actually, the biofuel—dubbed “Brewtroleum”—isn’t made of beer itself (Sorry Homer). Rather, it comes from ethanol that’s been extracted from the slurry of brewing yeast left over after a batch of beer is made in DB Export’s breweries. The yeast would otherwise be thrown away, or sold to farmers as feed for their herds. Once the ethanol is refined out of the leftover yeast, it is combined with petrol to create the final, environmentally sound gasoline alternative. 

image via db export

DB Export has reportedly partnered with Gull Petrol stations to sell the Brewtroleum, believed to be the first commercially available biofuel of its kind. Per The New Zealand Heraldan initial batch of 300,000 liters, rendered from 30,000 liters of ethanol, is expected to last around six weeks, after having gone on sale across that country’s North Island earlier this month. Once the fuel runs dry, DB Exports will then assess sales to determine whether to release more onto the market. Explains company spokesman Sean O’Donnell: “It's a case of testing consumer demand and assessing the feasibility of ongoing production and logistics.”

Vice points out that not only is Brewtroleum ecologically friendly in and of itself, the fact that the ethanol comes from material that would otherwise be thrown away, as opposed to ethanol cultivated from specifically grown crops on farmlands which can end up leading to deforestation, makes it a doubly green innovation. 

So while humans should never, ever, drink and drive, the fact that our cars are developing a taste for beer is a pretty good sign of ecological progress. 

[via techly, cover via (cc) flickr user mfajardo]

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Scientists Crack the Secret of Turning Beer into Gasoline