Nov 03, 2016

From the Brewery to Your Battery

Elisabeth Lisican

Colorado is known for its excellent craft beer, so it makes sense that the Rocky Mountain State also is home to some interesting research around brewery wastewater and batteries. 

Now, energy generation might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a tall, cold one; but according to a report from CU Boulder Today, University of Colorado Boulder engineers are doing just that with beer’s wastewater. The researchers have developed a bio-manufacturing process that uses a biological organism cultivated in brewery wastewater to create the carbon-based materials needed to make energy storage cells. This “breweries plus batteries” arrangement could add up to opportunity by reducing wastewater treatment costs for beer makers and providing manufacturers with an affordable means of creating renewable, natural fuel cell technologies.

The researchers are cultivating a fast-growing fungus, Neurospora crassa, from beer’s sugar-rich wastewater, while cleaning brewery wastewater in the process. The researchers called their findings potentially game-changing and are partnering with Boulder’s Avery Brewing to explore a larger pilot program.

While we’ll continue to follow this research closely, we are featuring another waste-to-energy story in this issue of iWWD—on page 12. With the help of Covanta, American Airlines’ Wheel and Brake Center developed a zero-waste-to-landfill strategy and was able to avoid the cost of shipping wastewater long distances and across state lines. 

We also feature a story on breweries in this issue—on page 10. Associate Editor Sara Samovalov took a look at water efficiency and sustainability at U.S. craft breweries.

Finally, in related news, the staff of iWWD recently sampled CDM Smith/Water Replenishment District of Southern California’s Fat Californian DPR IPA, at WEFTEC 2016, part of the show’s Innovation Pavilion. Our verdict? Earthily innovative.

What sustainability initiatives are you seeing in the industrial water market? Send us your innovative intelligence and it may appear in a future issue of iWWD.

About the author

Elisabeth Lisican | Editor-in-Chief | [email protected]