Feeds

Oz boffins unleash the power of beer

2kW microbial fuel cell to run on brewing waste

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Australian boffins from the University of Queensland have teamed up with beer outfit Foster's to power up a "battery" by brewing waste, Associated Press reports.

The scientists yesterday unveiled the experimental microbial fuel cell at Foster's Yatala brewery near Brisbane. The "complex technology" involved feeds alcohol, starch, and sugar to bacteria which, while enjoying their liquid lunch, produce chemical energy which is converted into electrical output. The cell also produces clean water and "renewable (non-polluting) carbon dioxide".

Professor Jurg Keller, of the university's Advanced Wastewater Management Centre (AWMC) said: "Brewery waste water is a particularly good source because it is very biodegradable...and is highly concentrated, which does help in improving the performance of the cell."

The small-scale prototype has been running at the uni's lab for three months, and the plan now is to produce a full-scale, 660 gallon model with an output of 2kW, due for operational deployment in September. Keller added: "It's not going to make an enormous amount of power - it's primarily a waste water treatment that has the added benefit of creating electricity."

The technology has been developed in association with the University of Ghent, Belgium, backed by a AU$1.3m grant from the Australian Research Council Discovery, AU$140,000 from the Queensland Government's Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund, and further financial support from Foster's.

The researchers hope the fuel cell "could be used across a number of food, beverage, and manufacturing industries". AWMC postdoctoral research fellow Dr Korneel Rabaey said: "Energy and water supply are among the biggest challenges we will face in the coming decades. Therefore, we must learn how to diversify our portfolio of fuels - and we must learn to reduce our energy and water usage." ®

Bootnote

We'll save you the trouble of adding the wisecracks. For the record, the average Reg hack consumes around 10 pints of beer a day, producing a continuous average of 1.5kW of heat energy during the work cycle. We're currently working on a system which will substantially reduce our carbon footprint by using the energy output of the Vulture Central Strategy Boutique after a particularly robust wine-bar-based lunchtime brainstorming session to power the email servers. Expect patent applications shortly.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.