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Engineers and Brewers Team Up to Create Energy Storage Cells

Colorado UniversityResearchers at Colorado University and Boulder-based Avery Brewing recently partnered to develop a new bio-manufacturing process that uses brewery wastewater to create the carbon-based materials needed to make energy storage cells. 

Until now, biomass has been hampered by limited supply, the difficulty of extracting quality material and the complex chemical makeup of organic compounds—rendering breakthroughs difficult to come by and even harder to deploy.  But through its partnership with Avery, Colorado University’s researchers found the perfect brew to grow Neurospora crassa, a fast-growing fungus that helped them create one of the most efficient naturally-derived lithium-ion battery electrodes to date. 

As an added benefit, their process also helped to treat the brewers’ wastewater.  According to Tyler Huggins, the lead author on the Colorado University study, breweries use seven barrels of water for every barrel of beer produced.  This research has identified a cost-effective way to treat wastewater, along with an easy to reproduce biomass process.

Because the components of this experiment are widely available, Colorado University’s research team believes the process will be easy to scale and will make waves for both biomass production and wastewater treatment processes.  These both can be significant contributors to a more energy-efficient and eco-friendly future.

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