The Queensland, Australia, Government's Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund has granted $140,000(AU) to the University of Queensland for a joint project between UQ and Foster's to turn beer wastewater into electricity.
The project will use the waste water from the fermentation process--water that is rich with sugars, starches, and alcohol--to power fuel cells, generating energy and clean water in the process. The process won't generate much electricity--only about 2 kW. Basically it's a wastewater treatment system that also generates a small amount of free electricity.
And while generating electricity using alternative energy methods is a worthwhile goal in and of itself, this process also allows for efficient recycling of wastewater in an area (Queensland) that has been hit with serious droughts for many years. “Energy and water supply are among the biggest challenges we will face in the coming decades,” Dr Korneel Rabaey, a postdoctoral research fellow at UQ's Advanced Wastewater Management Centre, said, and this research project addresses both of those challenges.
I thought I'd blog about this because I'm pretty passionate about alternative energy technologies, and even more passionate about beer.