Soon enough, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. will make more than just tasty beer—it will also manufacture high-grade ethanol fuel from leftover beer yeast. The company announced today that it is partnering with E-Fuel—the inventor of the world's first home ethanol machine—to test portable ethanol refineries at its Chico, California brewery.
Sierra Nevada generates an average of 1.6 million gallons of unusable beer yeast waste each year, which it currently sells to farmers as dairy feed. The brewer's beer dregs contain only 5 to 7% alcohol, but E-Fuel's MicroFueler can raise the alcohol content to 15%, resulting in a higher ethanol yield. The MicroFueler also removes water from the mix for increased quality.
Testing of Sierra Nevada's waste-to-ethanol system will begin in the second quarter of this year, with full-scale production expected soon after. The company plans on using the ethanol in its own vehicles initially, but may eventually supply employees with fuel and distribute extra fuel through E-Fuel's network.
Enterprising small business owners who want to create their own ethanol blend can purchase E-Fuel's MicroFueler for the low price of $9,995.