US researchers turn ‘beer’ into biofuel

US engineers have developed a process of turning beer into biofuel, which they claim outperforms industry standard ethanol. The researchers at the University of Cornell are technically not using the […]

Register now!

By Priyanka Shrestha

US engineers have developed a process of turning beer into biofuel, which they claim outperforms industry standard ethanol.

The researchers at the University of Cornell are technically not using the beer that people would drink but ‘fermentation broth’, which is chemically identical to it from which the fuel ethanol is produced.

Ethanol is a widely used biofuel but is expensive to produce as it is water soluble so it has to be distilled from the broth. The researchers claimed they have designed a process for upgrading it, which is more versatile and could be used in “already-established” ethanol production lines in the future.

Professor Largus Angenent, who led the research said: “With fuels you want to have pretty long carbon chains.

“Ethanol has two carbons, and you can run a car on that but not a plane – it’s not dense enough.”

The researchers used donated buckets of fermented beer broth from a corn ethanol plant for their experiments.