Chemists at the University of Bristol have demonstrated a viable new butanol mixture using common, everyday beer. The team managed to convert the ethanol in America’s favorite adult beverage into usable biofuel.
Traditionally, ethanol doesn’t make a good biofuel because of the former’s low energy density. But according to the University of Bristol, their researchers used technology known as a catalyst – “chemicals which can speed up and control a chemical reaction” – to convert the ethanol found in beer into a feasible replacement for petrol.
And the experiment was a perfect microcosm of the technology’s potential.
“Alcoholic drinks are an ideal model for industrial ethanol fermentation broths - ethanol for fuel is essentially made using a brewing process,” said Professor Duncan Wass, who led the research.
"Beer is actually an excellent model for the mixture of chemicals we would need to use in a real industrial process, so it shows this technology is one step closer to reality."
The professor noted that they wouldn’t actually use beer and risk a food shortage – and in practice, Jack Daniels would probably work better than Budweiser, given the former’s higher alcohol by volume – but that “there are ways to obtain ethanol for fuel from fermentation that produce something that chemically is very much like beer.”
Read more here: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/uob-bst120617.php