CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Scientists and Australian beer maker Foster’s are teaming up to generate clean energy from brewery waste water – by using sugar-consuming bacteria.
The experimental technology was unveiled Wednesday by scientists at Australia’s University of Queensland, which was given a 140,000 Australian dollar (US$115,000; euro85,000) state government grant to install a microbial fuel cell at a Foster’s Group brewery near Brisbane, the capital of Queensland state.
The fuel cell is essentially a battery in which bacteria consume water-soluble brewing waste such as sugar, starch and alcohol.
The battery produces electricity plus clean water, said Prof. Jurg Keller, the university’s wastewater expert.
The complex technology harnesses the chemical energy that the bacteria releases from the organic material, converting it into electrical energy.
The 2,500-liter (660-gallon) fuel cell will be 250 times bigger than a prototype that has been operating effectively at the university laboratory for three months, Keller said.
”Brewery waste water is a particularly good source because it is very biodegradable … and is highly concentrated, which does help in improving the performance of the cell,” Keller said.
He expected the brewery cell would produce 2 kilowatts of power – enough to power a household – and the technology would eventually be applied in other breweries and wineries owned by Foster’s. The cell should be operating at the brewery by September.
”It’s not going to make an enormous amount of power – its primarily a waste water treatment that has the added benefit of creating electricity,” Keller said.
A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?
Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.
A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate
Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.
10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023
These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway
Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.