Sierra Nevada to turn beer yeast into fuel
E-Fuel Corp. said Tuesday it reached an agreement with the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to create high-grade ethanol fuel from discarded beer yeast.
Los Gatos-based E-Fuel, the inventor of the world’s first home ethanol system — the Efuel100 MicroFueler — and Sierra Nevada have agreed to house MicroFuelers at the brewery in Chico, enabling Sierra Nevada to manufacture its own ethanol using waste from its brewing process.
Testing will begin in the second quarter with a goal of achieving full-scale ethanol production in the third quarter, E-Fuel said.
On average, Sierra Nevada resells 1.6 million gallons of unusable “bottom of the barrel” beer yeast waste to farmers each year. Containing 5 percent to 8 percent alcohol content, the waste includes enough yeast and nutrients to enable the MicroFueler to raise that level to 15 percent alcohol, allowing for an increased ethanol yield.
“Creating ethanol from discarded organic waste is an excellent example of how the MicroFueler can help eliminate our reliance on the oil industry infrastructure. This is especially true when considering Americans reportedly discard 50 percent of all agricultural farmed products,” said Tom Quinn, E-Fuel founder and chief executive officer. “Using a waste product to fuel your car is friendlier to the environment and lighter on your wallet, easily beating prices at the gas pump.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
E-Fuel was founded in March 2007 by Tom Quinn and ethanol scientist Floyd Butterfield. As chairman of E-Fuel, a privately held company, Quinn has solely funded the company and is instrumental in both corporate leadership and product development.