New Belgium beermakers to brew algae-based biodiesel
New Belgium Brewing Co. is known for its Fat Tire Amber Ale and a number of other bubbly bevvies. But you’ll want to think twice before chugging the company’s latest concoction: the ecofriendly microbrewery is teaming up with energy startup Solix Biofuels to brew biodiesel from algae. (Yeah, I pirated the headline — arrr … how could I resist!)
Before you choke on your brewski, let me explain why you’re in no danger of finding bits of pond scum in your pint glass:
New Belgium isn’t bottling the stuff; instead, they’re providing CO2 — a byproduct of fermentation and boiler operations — that helps the algae grow. After several weeks, the microorganisms are harvested and their oil is extracted and refined into biodiesel.
If the project succeeds, it will show that algae can produce 100 times more oil than soybeans. Says one bioenergy expert, “The nice thing about algae is they have the potential of yielding about 10,000 gallons of oil per acre, whereas soybeans can produce 50 to 100 gallons per acre.” Plus, it’s fun to say your car is powered by pond scum.