For years, researchers have been investigating the waste products of brewing as feedstock for biofuel production. Now, a New Zealand company, DB Export, has actually done it—made and sold a test batch of fuel made from the solids left over after beer production. They call it “Brewtroleum”, and the fuel is popular enough that DB Export is considering making another batch.
Catchy name aside, Brewtroleum has possibilities as an alternative fuel.
What the New Zealand company makes from brewing waste is ethanol, the form of alcohol often produced from corn in the United States. The Brewtroleum mixture is most likely a combination of ethanol and gasoline (since vehicles built to run on gas cannot use pure ethanol). These mixes are not new—here in the United States, we’ve been using gas and ethanol mixtures for years, ostensibly as a way to reduce reliance on foreign oil. The standard mixtures are E10 and E15, or ten and fifteen percent ethanol, respectively.
The only new thing about Brewtroleum is what it’s made from.
Ethanol is marketed as a “green” fuel, and indeed it does produce marginally fewer emissions. More importantly, it isn’t a fossil fuel, so in theory, using it should reduce our carbon footprint. Yet burning ethanol still releases carbon dioxide, but because that carbon was only recently sequestered, releasing it back into the atmosphere does not significantly change the Earth’s carbon balance. The problem is that here in the United States, we produce our ethanol from corn. Growing, transporting, and processing that corn requires a lot of fossil fuel—by some estimates, the total carbon footprint of corn-based ethanol is actually higher than that of gasoline.
Brewtroleum could change that. Because it is made from a waste product from another industry, most of its carbon footprint actually belongs to the beer. The biofuel is a freebie.
Unfortunately, ethanol, from whatever source, is hard on engines, especially those of earlier vehicles that were designed to run on gas alone. Gas and ethanol mixtures also sometimes separate, rendering the whole tank of fuel suddenly useless. Brewtroleum can’t change either of these facts. What it can do is make ethanol become the greener alternative that it’s claimed to be.
For businesses with a fleet a vehicles, reducing fuel waste and lowering the company’s carbon footprint is key. Fleet managers can be empowered with a GPS tracking solution that provides advanced tools to reduce carbon emissions and promote an environmentally friendly fleet of vehicles.
With a GPS tracking solution that incorporates reporting features, unnecessary miles, idling, and speeding are cut out of the fleet’s operation, and ultimately less fuel is burned.
If we change the fuels we use and cut out unnecessary fuel use, the carbon footprint of fleets can be improved across the globe.