Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Power Science

The 660 Gallon Brewery Fuel Cell 238

Posted by samzenpus
from the drinking-electricity dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Australia's University of Queensland has secured a $115,000 grant for a 660-gallon fuel cell that should produce 2 kilowatts of power. A prototype has been operating at the university laboratory for three months. This fuel cell type is essentially a battery in which bacteria consume water-soluble brewing waste such as sugar, starch and alcohol, plus in this instance produces clean water."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The 660 Gallon Brewery Fuel Cell

Comments Filter:
  • Me Homer (Score:5, Funny)

    by wmwilson01 (912533) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @07:52PM (#18965939) Homepage
    Call me Homer Simpson, but all I heard was "beer, beer, beer, Mmmmm beeerrrr".
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by creimer (824291)
      Except that the damn bugs are drinking the beer and pissing clean water.
      • I agree. They should be trying to make it work in reverse.
      • by manno (848709)
        OOOOHHHHHHH....
        in heaven there is no beer
        that's why we drink it here
        and when we're away from here
        our friends will be drinking all our beer!

        -manno
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sortius_nod (1080919)
      As an aussie... I assure you that this was just logical progression.

      1. make beer
      2. drink beer
      3. make power with beer
      4. ????
      5. profit

      I just hope they don't use XXXX waste for it... the bacteria will spend more time throwing up than making energy.
  • Just for reference (Score:2, Informative)

    by geekoid (135745)
    that's 20 100 watt bulbs.

    Not bad.

    • by ez76 (322080) <slashdotNO@SPAMe76.us> on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @08:08PM (#18966123) Homepage
      More importantly, Zima has found a market!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by maxume (22995)
      How many 20 watt bulbs would it be?
    • by fyngyrz (762201) * on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @08:22PM (#18966251) Homepage Journal
      that's 20 100 watt bulbs

      Or 200 10 watt compact florescent bulbs, which is all we use. Not 200 of them, of course. But in a 5000 square foot home, we do have quite a few.

      More importantly, that's an average rate, so storage during off hours could yield considerably more output. If you sleep 8 hours of a 24 hour day and aren't home for another 8 while you work, that leaves 8 hours at 6 kilowatts if you control your inactive power consumption decently, and even if you don't, you could still end up with a great deal more than 2KW available to you. Storage also allows for short peak usage (startup of furnace blowers, refrigerator motors, air conditioners and so on... takes a lot more to start most motors than it does to keep them turning, even under load.

      I would definitely be willing to make room for a 700 gallon or so tank; I wonder what the feeding, cleaning, and environmental requirements for a production version will be. I've been seriously considering solar, but the high installation cost and the relatively short lifetime of silicon cells (20 years or less) doesn't work out very well. If this thing can run long term and isn't a maintenance nightmare, I'd jump on that puppy instantly.

      • by cptgrudge (177113)

        I would definitely be willing to make room for a 700 gallon or so tank; I wonder what the feeding, cleaning, and environmental requirements for a production version will be.

        Me too. And I'm pretty sure I don't only speak for myself when I say that I want details, not a stupid Yahoo article.

    • by plasmacutter (901737) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:16PM (#18966825)
      660 gallons is a LOT of fluid. for reference the average 100 gallon tank will be 2 yards by 1.5 feet by 1.5 feet.

      so this thing would be about the size of a king sized bed at the least, and it's only generating enough to power 20 100 watt bulbs. From the energy ratings i remember on our appliances it wouldn't even power a single family home.
    • Just a nitpick, but is it really 2500 liters instead if 660 gallons? TFA says

      The 660-gallon fuel cell will be 250 times bigger than a prototype that has been operating at the university laboratory

      and according to Google [google.com] 660 gallons is about 2498 liters, so it sounds to me like the prototype is "10 liters" instead of "2.64 gallons". A two and a half cubic meter container is quite large in any case.

    • Or more importantly for the slashdot crowd, it's 5-10 powerful pcs (depending on psu efficiency)
  • by BSarp (222084) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @07:52PM (#18965949)
    Alcohol isn't brewing "waste" -- it's the entire point!
    • by dan828 (753380) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @07:56PM (#18966005)
      It sounds like a bunch of grad students got together and convinced someone to fund a brewery that they had rigged up in the basement of the science building. I can just picture a bunch of guys sitting around drinking beer and trying to write a grant proposal. "Oh hell, just tell them it's a fucking fuel cell...."
      • by dbIII (701233)
        If it's chemical engineering, which I suspect, they already have a big distillation tower as the centrepiece of the building with fairly pure stuff coming off the top plate. Oddly enough it's like hot sake more than anything else.

        Another university in the same city put together a wall mounted microbrewery with all the parts you would expect in a full sized brewery - it was put together as a teaching tool for a technical college. A few hundred litres went through in the testing stage but it got out the doo

        • by Sj0 (472011)
          Wait....A full-sized real brewery, or a full-sized "beer flavoured beverage for mass consumption" factory? The former would be awesome, but adding beer flavour crystals and corn alcohol to carbonated water isn't a great project. You could basically control it without even using a PID if you didn't care much about the consistency of the brew. Boooooring. :)
          • by dbIII (701233)
            Reading comprehension would also be awesome :)
          • A full-sized real brewery or a full-sized "beer flavoured beverage for mass consumption" factory?
            The article clearly states it's in Australia, not the US. So it's probably the former.
      • by DeadChobi (740395)
        That reminds me of my favorite grant proposal ever: Variable-speed oscillating thermal exchange units.
  • Good idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by JanneM (7445) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @07:53PM (#18965959) Homepage
    So it sits on the campus consuming sugar, starches and alcohol. Just like a graduate student then, except you also get some useful output. Should revolutionize academia; just imagine what this device is capable of once it gets tenure.

    • by daeg (828071) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @07:59PM (#18966033)
      You could generate even more power by placing treadmills 360 degress around the tanks and paint the tanks to look like free & cheap beer.
    • by weighn (578357)

      So it sits on the campus consuming sugar, starches and alcohol. Just like a graduate student then, except you also get some useful output. Should revolutionize academia; just imagine what this device is capable of once it gets tenure.
      its a WKF that when you're pissed, your pee is 99% H<sub>2</sub>O anyway.

      all good campus toilets have the notice: "please flush twice, its a long way to the bar"

    • by SurturZ (54334) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @08:24PM (#18966281) Homepage Journal
      I'm glad they've found another use for vegemite.

      For those that aren't from Australia, Vegemite is a foodstuff by-product from brewing. It's chief ingredients are yeast, salt and pain.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by goatpunch (668594)
        For those of you who are from Australia; Vegemite is a watered down, sweetened copy of the British product Marmite (there's an Australian 'Marmite' too, but it's even worse than Vegemite). Do yourselves a favour and try some Marmite.
        • by magarity (164372) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:26PM (#18967419)
          Do yourselves a favour and try some Marmite.
           
          I travelled to the UK for the first time this last January. At the hotel breakfast buffet there were some little containers labelled 'Marmite' in with the usual jams, butter, and such so I picked it up. I put it on some toast as I would some jam and took a bite. It was, bar none, the worst culinary experience of my entire life. Whatever you do, DO NOT eat the Marmite! It's so excruciatingly awful it must exist purely as a hidden camera type trick the Brits play on tourists.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by goatpunch (668594)
            You made the textbook mistake and tried it after the age of 5. It's a well known fact that if the taste isn't acquired in early childhood you'll never like it. Oh, and don't spread it thick like jam either; there's a reason why most people buy it in very small jars.

            Once you have the taste for it, there's nothing like butter and marmite on toast for a hangover.
        • by omeomi (675045)
          Vegemite is a watered down, sweetened copy of the British product Marmite

          I had vegemite once. It's been awhile, but IIRC, it reminded me quite a bit of beef bullion.
        • Buying bread from a man in brussels
          He was six foot four and full of muscles
          I said, do you speak-a my language?
          He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich

          "Do yourselves a favour and try some Marmite." - and be labeled a traitor, never!
  • Bender (Score:4, Funny)

    by WFFS (694717) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @07:54PM (#18965967)
    Am I the only one who immediately thought of Bender [wikipedia.org] from Futurama?
  • by kilodelta (843627) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @07:55PM (#18965989) Homepage
    It'll be nice to know that beer is saving the planet!
    • by Bad D.N.A. (753582) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [anddab]> on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:47PM (#18967607)
      Beer has been saving this planet for thousands of years. Can you imagine if people had to actually deal with their problems?
      • by mpe (36238)
        Beer has been saving this planet for thousands of years. Can you imagine if people had to actually deal with their problems?

        Whilst this was modded as "funny" it is actually the case that up until about a century ago beer was the usual way in which many people were supplied with safe drinking water. To the extent that people who's ancestors tended to drink beer are able to handle alcohol much better than people who's ancestors tended to drink tea. (Tea being the other traditional way of making water safe t
  • What will all the freshmen drink?
  • by umbrellasd (876984) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @07:58PM (#18966021)
    before we see a press release claiming a breakthrough in power generation: "By placing horses in a giant wheel that is connected to a turbine and then racing them, scientists have found a way to generate all the power we need on a steady supply of oats and barley. Also generates lots of gambling revenue for the state."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by weighn (578357)

      "Also generates lots of gambling revenue for the state."
      I like where you're heading. Perhaps we can tap into those darned gaming machines also. These got to be a heap of excess kinetic energy when you slap those buttons.

      Ditto sex. The three BIG EVILS of the Conservative universe - drinking, gambling and prostitution - could just turn out to be the saviors of the world

      • by Stickerboy (61554) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:10PM (#18966757) Homepage
        >I like where you're heading. Perhaps we can tap into those darned gaming machines also. These got to be a heap of excess kinetic energy when you slap those buttons.

        >Ditto sex. The three BIG EVILS of the Conservative universe - drinking, gambling and prostitution - could just turn out to be the saviors of the world


        In the bedroom:

        "Honey, what's that?!?!"

        "They call it Sex@Home. We have to do our part to stop global warming..."

  • Not entirely clean (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @08:05PM (#18966087)

    Note that TFA indicates that this is a method to remove brewer's waste, with the byproduct of producing electricity. As a method for producing electricity in general, it is not a clean method because you'd first have to produce alcohol (which would then we cleaned by the bacteria). Producing alcohol produces *VAST* amounts of CO2.

    I have worked as an assistant winemaker at a small vinyard. Our vats are 3000 litres apiece. Even with these small vats, the temperature reached by the yeast cell division is HOT to the touch (but not enough for thermal electricity generation). If you were to walk into the room where the vats are without first ventilating the room, you would pass out because the oxygen in your lungs feels like it is literally sucked out (not sure of the actual physical process involved). If no one were around, you would die from asphyxiation. It is wierd sensation, let me tell you.

    • by malsdavis (542216) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @08:13PM (#18966173)
      Its funny how these days, any "alternative" form of energy is automatically considered by many to be "clean", "green" or "environmentally friendly".

      Just for the record: Biofuels are definitely NOT environmentally friendly and Hydro-electric plants are amongst the construction projects most often protested AGAINST on environmental grounds.

      Just thought that need to be said.
      • by fractoid (1076465) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:18PM (#18966859) Homepage
        I'm curious how (sustainable) biofuel isn't environmentally friendly? It's carbon neutral, leverages our existing overproduction of food crops, seems all good all round. The only thing I can think of is that it's smelly and bad for your valve seats... obviously logging old growth forest for biomass doesn't count here, just things like maize and grain crops.

        Hydro plants are protested against because they flood large areas of wildlife habitats and peoples' homes. That's an 'environmental' issue but not an emissions one.

        I agree, though, that jumping on the 'alternative' bandwagon is far too fashionable and often counterconstructive - take, for example, the fact that the Prius [consumeraffairs.com] uses more fuel than the Golf TDi [about.com][1]. Like any other engineering issue (and conservation is one at heart) you have to look at the data and not just follow the emotive hype. For instance, modern nuclear reactor designs [wikipedia.org] are far safer than the old, cold-war era designs, and potentially very fuel efficient. If it weren't for the "nuclear is bad" mindset of the general public, they would be the perfect mid- to long-term energy solution.

        [1] Of course, that's not a fair comparison because the TDi runs diesel fuel which has a higher energy density, but I'm pretty sure the total energy cost of a Prius over its lifetime is higher than that of a TDi.
        • by dbIII (701233)

          For instance, modern nuclear reactor designs are far safer than the old, cold-war era designs

          Of course they are - there's nothing safer than something that has never been built.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I'm curious how (sustainable) biofuel isn't environmentally friendly? It's carbon neutral, leverages our existing overproduction of food crops, seems all good all round.

          That "overproduction" of food crops is made possible by very resource intensive farming practices which are heavily dependent on the chemical industry (fertilizers & pesticides) which use use petroleum as feedstocks. Without it, yields would drop dramatically as the soil is depleted. Alot has been made of the brazilian biofuel efforts
        • by mpe (36238)
          I'm curious how (sustainable) biofuel isn't environmentally friendly? It's carbon neutral, leverages our existing overproduction of food crops, seems all good all round. The only thing I can think of is that it's smelly and bad for your valve seats... obviously logging old growth forest for biomass doesn't count here, just things like maize and grain crops.

          It depends on the details. Filtering used vegetable oil and using it as a fuel probably is a good idea. Using maize to produce alcohol isn't remotly ef
    • by evwah (954864) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @08:17PM (#18966207)
      "If no one were around, you would die from asphyxiation. It is wierd sensation, let me tell you."

      you have personal experience dying from asphyxiation? that has to be a first
      • by Miseph (979059)
        There is something to be said for learning from one's own mistakes. There's also something to be said for learning from the mistakes of others.

        For example, I happen to know that a good cuber (what butchers use to turn otherwise unpalatably tough meat into unpalatably bizarre cube steaks, among other uses) can crush bones and spit out a cube arm if you're a big enough idiot to let it catch one of your fingers when you're feeding meat through it; I know this because a butcher I used to work with saw it happe
    • by kkerwin (730626) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @08:24PM (#18966283)
      "If you were to walk into the room where the vats are without first ventilating the room, you would pass out because the oxygen in your lungs feels like it is literally sucked out (not sure of the actual physical process involved)."

      Diffusion of oxygen against a concentration gradient. It's basically the same process that happens when you sprinkle salt on a slug and it dies: the salt lowers the water concentration outside of the slug, and water flows out of the slug to balance the water concentrations in and out of the slug.

      Partial pressure of oxygen outside of the lungs (pressure produced only by oxygen molecules, nothing else) is much lower than the partial pressure of oxygen inside the lungs. Oxygen flows out of the lungs to equalize the partial pressures. CO2 flows into the lungs to replace the displaced oxygen.

      And, you die, just like the slug. :-)
    • by ookabooka (731013)
      You just gave me an intersting idea. Algae farms have a problem that they aren't very productive without an external CO2 source. What if we used this device to produce energy, then pumped the remaining CO2 into an algae farm to produce even more energy.I'm not too sure about all the math behind it (I'll look into the numbers after I hit submit) so it may not be efficient at all but it just seems so obvious. I'm sure it must have been done before: ferment corn or something then pump the CO2 into an algae far
      • by Nutria (679911)
        You just gave me an intersting idea. Algae farms have a problem that they aren't very productive without an external CO2 source. What if we used this device to produce energy, then pumped the remaining CO2 into an algae farm to produce even more energy.I'm not too sure about all the math behind it (I'll look into the numbers after I hit submit) so it may not be efficient at all but it just seems so obvious. I'm sure it must have been done before: ferment corn or something then pump the CO2 into an algae far
        • by ookabooka (731013)
          Sorry to bust your bubble, but it's already been thought of, many times.
          http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12834398/ [msn.com]


          I think you missed the point, yes I know that they have been attached to power plants and other sources of CO2, I'm talking specifically here about the CO2 produced in fermenting stuff. Two alternative fuels right now are ethanol and biodiesel. I just noticed that the byproduct of fermenting (to make ethanol) might aid in the production of biodiesel. Then use this to take the leftovers from the f
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by GooberToo (74388)
            Fuel from corn in America is foolish. Corn is often grown with water taken taken from an underground aquifer. The aquifer is getting so low, most people that are aware of it are starting to become very concerned. The government already has restrictions on who gets the water and what can be done with it. Worse, there are already predictions on when the acquifer will run out, or run low enough to significantly effect crop productions across America. Yet we are now starting down a path which will place ad
            • by ookabooka (731013)
              Long story short, please don't encourage additional corn crops.

              1) Get a bunch of corn or something, start fermenting

              Ok then, sugarcane, sugar beets, milk; what is used to ferment is irrelevant, the concept I'm trying to express is utilizing ethanol, CO2, and waste water from fermentation. You take some carbs and stuff (cellulose?) and squeeze out as much energy as possible from it.
    • by dbIII (701233)

      Note that TFA indicates that this is a method to remove brewer's waste

      That's a good idea - all we do with our brewing waste now is add salt and spread it on bread as Vegemite - still a prohibited import to the USA I believe becuase it contains folate.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by turing_m (1030530)
      "Producing alcohol produces *VAST* amounts of CO2."

      Which comes from sugar, the carbon dioxide from which is sucked out of the atmosphere. It's essentially carbon neutral (like any other biofuel or crop). If the waste plant material is not burnt, it might even act as a net sink.
    • by mpe (36238)
      Note that TFA indicates that this is a method to remove brewer's waste, with the byproduct of producing electricity. As a method for producing electricity in general, it is not a clean method because you'd first have to produce alcohol (which would then we cleaned by the bacteria).

      But it could be useful to cut the brewery's electricity bill. Possibly also their water usage...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hal2814 (725639)
      "As a method for producing electricity in general, it is not a clean method"

      No, it's not. But if you were producing alcohol anyways as part of a brewery, it would be a great way to run your operation more efficiently. Given the amount of waste needed, I doubt this system would ever be useful outside a brewery. The cost to transport that much waste water probably outweighs any off-site use of these fuel cells.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @08:10PM (#18966139)
    660 gallons is about fifteen barrels. 2 kW isn't that much so maybe for my house I need 6 kW. That's approx. forty five barrels. That's a lot of barrels in the back yard.
    • by fyngyrz (762201) * on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @08:33PM (#18966383) Homepage Journal
      2 kW isn't that much so maybe for my house I need 6 kW

      Do you need 6 kw while you sleep? Do you need 6kw while you're at work? If not, that same system might serve to give you 6kw for 8 hours by storing the other 4 kw generated during the 16 or so hours of low duty time periods. Storage makes all the difference in the world. Some people might actually consume 6kw all the time, but that seems like an awful lot. I don't, and I live in a pretty big home with a whole slew of electronic gear.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TooMuchToDo (882796)
        Well put. With regards to storage, your water heater at home is a thermal battery. If everyone switched to more efficient tankless hot water heaters (simple heat exchanges), huge amounts of energy would be saved (since energy is used only when water is flowing) but since more energy is drawn down to heat water from 50 degrees F to 115 degrees F, utilities would have a higher peak demand to plan for. With water heaters, more energy is lost to standby heat but the water heater buffers demand for the utilities
        • by mpe (36238)
          If everyone switched to more efficient tankless hot water heaters (simple heat exchanges), huge amounts of energy would be saved (since energy is used only when water is flowing) but since more energy is drawn down to heat water from 50 degrees F to 115 degrees F, utilities would have a higher peak demand to plan for.

          Since water has a high SHC you need a powerful heater for such a system. In many cases these a gas powered because it's rather easier to deliver 10-20kW of power via a gas pipe than via elect
      • Heck, you don't even have to store it locally... Just pump the excess back on the electrical grid and turn your meter backwards.

        ~D
  • Imagine (Score:5, Funny)

    by WED Fan (911325) <`ten.liamhsart' `ta' `egihaka'> on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @08:18PM (#18966213) Homepage Journal
    Imagine a beo...(hic)...a be...(hic)...imagine a...(hic)...imagine...what was I saying?...(hic)...Imagine...John Lennon was the best Beatle.
  • New Belgium Brewery (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tooyoung (853621) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @08:25PM (#18966301)
    New Belgium Brewery [newbelgium.com], most famous for Fat Tire and Sunshine, produce 10% of their electricity using the methane that is produced from bacteria feeding off of their waste water.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hepneck (876605)
      Here is the link for New Belgium Brewery's site about how they process their wastewater. The energy that they use at the brewery that is not generated in-house is provided from wind farms in Wyoming (a half hours drive north of Ft. Collins. This makes them the only brewery in the US that is powered not only by renewable energy, but energy that is also sustainable. So enjoy that Fat Tire or Sunshine Wheat guilt-free (well, other than the excuses you make for why you got home from work so late).

      Link:
      http://ww [newbelgium.com]
  • by the_tsi (19767) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @08:32PM (#18966369)
    "Six bottles in one hand? That's nothing, those lads at Guinness are powering the entirety of Dublin with their brewery!"

    "Electrical power from beer effluvia?! BRILLIANT!"
  • Waste? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Mr. Flibble (12943) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @08:36PM (#18966411) Homepage

    in which bacteria consume water-soluble brewing waste such as sugar, starch and alcohol


    Waste? Waste?! Methinks they have not thought this "brewing process" through.
    • i bet most brewries produce quite a bit stuff that contains sugar starch and alcohol plus some other crap that is not usable for drinking. Batches that went wrong, stuff from near the beggining/end of a batch that is too contaminated (i belive this applies especially to distillation where you have to chuck the early product because it has a high methanol content) soloutions that have been heated as an alcohol vapour source for fractional distillation and no longer contain enough alcohol to be used for that
    • by Gryle (933382)
      "Scientists and Australian beer maker Foster's are teaming up to generate clean energy from brewery waste water"
      Perhaps they're just trying to find a use for American beer.
  • 115,000 Australian dollars [google.com] is 95,404 US dollars as I post this message.
  • by Dahamma (304068)
    in which bacteria consume water-soluble brewing waste such as sugar, starch and alcohol

    Also know as Vegemite.
  • by Bester (27412) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:21PM (#18967379)
    Finally someone found a good use for Fosters beer. It's certainly not good for drinking.

    Although we do manage to sell it to the Americans and claim that it is beer, they seem to buy it.

    Charles
    --
    Violence is the first refuge of the idiot.
  • by HackingYodel (847061) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:59PM (#18967701) Homepage
    Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. --Benjamin Franklin.


    A man who knew a bit about both beer and electricity. Think he's smiling down from heaven about this, or puzzled it took us so long?
  • by Mogster (459037) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @11:13PM (#18967815)
    the phrase 'drunk with power'
  • "Beer plus Science... equals good!"
  • So many discoveries end up being spinoffs of other discoveries. This fuel cell is a pleasant but unanticipated result of experiments to split the beer atom and put the bubbles back in beer [imdb.com]. You may think I'm a yahoo, but no, I'm serious.

    Mal-2
  • "This fuel cell type is essentially a battery in which bacteria consume water-soluble brewing waste such as sugar, starch and alcohol ...."

    Its not bad enough that we're killing off honey bees, polar bears, dolphins, tigers, and pandas, but now we need to do THIS?
    SUGAR, STARCH, and ALCOLHOL IS NOT WASTE!!! THAT'S **BEER**!!!!!

    Why, for the love of all that's holy, do we need to create something that might one day consume all of the beer in the world.

    STOP THE MADNESS BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!
  • Waste material??? (Score:3, Informative)

    by simm1701 (835424) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @06:26AM (#18970311)
    Ok so what waste material are they talking about?

    In making beer (and I do this at home so I feel I know atleast a little about it) you have several stages with "waste" product - but I wouldn't exactly describe them as starch, sugar and alcahol - to be honest its mostly fibre... or atleast so I thought...

    First you malt the barley (basically a slow roast though thats an oversimplification).... can't really see any waste coming from here.

    Then you mash the grains, ie keep in water at about 60-65C for a couple of hours, this causes the enzymes in the grain to convert the stored starch in the grain into sugar that yeast can later consume.
    You then sparge the grain (think pouring a watering can with a fine spray) over the grain the gentle extract this sugar. How you throw whats left of the grain away (waste product 1 - mashed grain)
    Now you boil the water you collected along with hops to add flavour, strain off the water and you are left with hops (waste product 2, hops that have been boiled in high sugar content water)
    Then you leave the beer to ferment and for a commerical brewery parsturising, carbonate and can/bottle the beer (a terrible and evil process, but then not everyone has the taste for real ale) there will be sediment left in the fermenter than is the final waste product, this will also have some beer in it... waste product 3.

    So we have the malted barely that has been mashed and sparged, mashing should have converted as much of the starch to sugar as possible. Spraying should has washed off as much of that sugar as possible, the remains? the non starch part of the grain

    The hops will have soaked up some of the wort (effectively sugared water) and then you have the material the hops are made of, some starch and mostly fibre like any seed.

    The sediment should not contain and sugar, but it will hard the same or close) alacohol content as the final beer... it probably also contains plenty of yeast (dead and still viable)

    Actually I think writing this out I may have convinced myself.... its stuff that they would be throwing out anyway and it is fairly well concentrated (atleast compared to raw harvesting of bio matter) as long as the alcohol is not too toxic to the baterial breaking it down I start to see how this would work...

    Interesting idea... not worth trying myself - making 5 gallons of beer I wouldn't have enough waste product to fill a 1 gallon bucket, but scaled up it would be interesting to see!!

System going down in 5 minutes.

Working...