Australian beer makers fight climate change by feeding carbon to algae

    25 Nov 2021

    Australian beer makers have brewed up a novel way to fight climate change: capturing the carbon dioxide produced by fermenting hops and feeding it to micro-algae, Reuters reports.

    The carbon emitted by fermenting hops to make a six-pack of beer can take a tree two days to absorb, experts say. To tackle that problem, the founders of Young Henrys brewery in Sydney teamed up with scientists to set up two “bioreactors” filled with trillions of tiny organisms.

    Inside the two 400-liter bioreactors at the company’s brewery in Sydney, the algae absorb the carbon, then reproduce and transform it into oxygen. Each bioreactor produces as much oxygen as two hectares of bushland, Young Henrys co-founder Oscar McMahon told Reuters.

     

     

    “We could knock down our whole site and plant trees, and … it would take years before they did the same amount of carbon sequestration and oxygen creation as those two bioreactors,” McMahon told Reuters. “As an urban carbon sequestration and oxygen-producing solution, it’s mind-blowing.”

    The Young Henrys team, the scientists from the University of Technology, Sydney, have also joined the industry group Meat & Livestock Australia to investigate whether the algae could be used to offset the methane emissions of Australian livestock.

    “Instead of us digging something up, making a product and then throwing it away, we circularise it and we’re actually going to use our carbon effectively,” said Professor Peter Ralph, the executive director of the Climate Change Cluster at the UTS.

    Australia, one of the world’s top coal and gas producers, has adopted a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he would not legislate the target.

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    What is easier: to love wine, bananas, coffee, and potatoes or combat climate change? At first sight, these questions sound ridiculous, but we’ve got the severe answers here.

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