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Bottoms up! Brewtroleum lets your car burn beer byproduct

Cars and beer usually don’t go together very well, but DB Breweries has just launched a new biofuel that allows motorists in New Zealand to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by drinking a cold one.

The brewery has joined forces with Gull, one of the leading producers of biofuels in New Zealand, to make 98-octane gasoline blended with ethanol that’s extracted from the yeast left over after beer is brewed. Cleverly dubbed Brewtroleum, the end product is billed as the world’s first commercially-available biofuel made from a beer by-product.

The process of creating Brewtroleum is relatively straight-forward, at least on paper. DB Breweries distills the yeast in-house and ships the ethanol it obtains to a Gull refinery. The biofuel producer then refines the ethanol and blends it with premium gasoline in order to make E10, a fuel made up of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent premium unleaded.

DB Breweries claims that Brewtroleum is good for the environment because ethanol-based biofuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions over time, and it reduces waste because the yeast from which the ethanol is extracted would otherwise be used to either feed livestock, or simply sent to a landfill.

By extracting about 8,000 gallons of ethanol from roughly 15,000 gallons of yeast, Gull and DB Breweries have prepared an initial batch of over 79,000 gallons of Brewtroleum. The batch is expected to last six weeks, but the brewery isn’t shy about admitting that it would like to see Gull gas stations offer Brewtroleum on tap on a permanent basis.

“It’s a case of testing consumer demand and assessing the feasibility of ongoing production and logistics,” explained Sean O’Donnell, a spokesperson for the brewery, in an interview with the New Zealand Herald.

Drivers will be able to fill up with Brewtoleum at any of the 60 Gull gas stations scattered across the North Island. Gull states that Brewtoleum contains 10 percent ethanol so it is compatible with a long list of cars including most Holden, Mercedes-Benz and Jeep models built since 1986, all Porsches since 2007 and a even a long list of Honda and BMW motorcycles.

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Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
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