Innovation That Matters

When beer ferments, it releases CO2, contributing to global warming | Photo source Elevate on Unsplash

A brewery is using algae to reduce carbon emissions

Food & Drink

A 400-litre bag of algae has been installed in a brewery, reducing carbon emissions and producing food, pharmaceuticals and plastic

Spotted: A Sydney-based company, Young Henrys, has installed a 400-litre bag of algae in its brewery in an effort to reduce its carbon emissions. When beer ferments, it releases CO2, contributing to global warming. Algae, however, does the opposite of this, consuming CO2 and releasing oxygen. Scientists believe that its installation in the brewery could be instrumental to counteracting what is being put out into the atmosphere.

For Young Henrys, participation in this project was motivated by their goal of becoming carbon neutral. One 400-litre bag of algae can produce as much oxygen as a hectare of the Australian bush, which means that it can not only clean up the carbon emissions but can provide cleaner air for breweries as well. Each bag lasts for up to three weeks, when scientists then return to the brewery to replace it. As the algae feeds on the CO2 produced during fermentation, it deepens in colour.

The ultimate aim of the project is to prove that the CO2 absorbed by the algae can be used to create new products, such as food, pharmaceuticals and plastic. The harvested algae are being studied closely at the University of Technology, Sydney, and researchers are in the early stages of demonstrating that they can produce plastic with it, and are working to perfect it for mass usage. On the other hand, food and pharmaceutical researchers have been looking at algae’s potential to make human supplements that can positively impact our bodies.   

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