For Australian brewery Young Henrys, fighting climate change means including an unusual ingredient in their beer-making process: algae. The fermentation of beer releases large amounts of CO2, but the brewery uses an innovative algae tank to absorb their emissions and produce as much oxygen as two and a half acres of wilderness.
Working with the University of Technology Sydney, the brewery designed a system that involves two bioreactors to cultivate algae. Both contain CO2, oxygen, and algae, but one serves as a control and one is connected to a fermentation tank so produced CO2 flows into it. The second tank consistently contains 50 percent fewer algae, meaning the experimental bioreactor is successfully consuming the harmful greenhouse gas.
Now, the team is working to make the technology scalable for larger manufacturers. Fortunately, the system could be easily adopted by breweries both large and small to reduce their carbon footprint.
It takes a tree approximately two days to absorb the CO2 released from producing one six-pack of beer, but incorporating easily-maintained algae systems into breweries is a cost-effective solution for in-house emissions reductions that can even help breweries achieve carbon neutrality.