Feeds

Oz boffins unleash the power of beer

2kW microbial fuel cell to run on brewing waste

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
Another step forward for diamond-based quantum computers
Square cut or pear-shaped, these qubits don't lose their shape
LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms
Is that an ARMADILLO in your PANTS or are you just pleased to see me?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.