January 9, 2018
As ridiculous as it sounds it is indeed true that scientists have successfully transformed beer into fuel for our vehicles. With minimum or no engine alteration, this could mean that the use of diesel, petrol, and gasoline can be replaced with a sustainable alternative.
Birth of the idea
The first step towards creating sustainable petrol using beer as a key ingredient was taken by the chemists at the University of Bristol. Scientists agree to the fact that brewing ethanol by industrial fermentation process can be essentially used as an alternative to other kinds of fuel.
Professor Duncan Wass, whose team led the research, said: “The alcohol in alcoholic drinks is actually ethanol which is exactly the same molecule that we want to convert into butanol as a petrol replacement.” With the rise of fossil fuels, it is essential to find new alternatives to the diminishing resources we have left. Ethanol is what constitutes an important ingredient in alcohol.”
Lower energy density and corrosive in nature makes ethanol not an ideal replacement for petrol. It is difficult to make butanol from sustainable sources. So, the idea is to convert ethanol which is an active ingredient in beer into butanol. This can be achieved by a petrochemical process similar to that used for refining gasoline.
As a biofuel additive for gasoline, ethanol is already put to use to make renewable fuel. It is commonly found in biomass such as corn, malt, sugar cane, molasses and other forest products. This might take no more than 5 years for the fuel to be used on an industrial scale. At present the results are not enough to fuel transportation as only a few hundred grams of butanol can be derived from beer.
In the United States fuel is sold as a blend with up to 10 percent ethanol. The most suited alternative to petrol would be bioethanol. If a butanol can be made from sustainable sources then it can be a better alternative to petrol or gasoline. Butanol can be considered a petrol replacement and can be used on an industrial scale if the technology works well with alcoholic drinks, especially beer.
Let us hope for a future where we can substitute fossil fuels that create a lot of pollution with biodegradable fuels which can fuel our means of transportation. Cheers to that!