Aussie beer brewed using algae to help cut emissions

Bubbling away in this Aussie brewery is a new formula for making beer that's friendlier to the planet.

Two bioreactors are filled with micro-algae - a sort of plankton.

The algae helps co-founders of beer label Young Henrys reduce their carbon footprint.

Here's how:

The carbon produced from the fermentation of a six-pack of beer can take a tree up to two days to absorb.

So Young Henrys have turned to trillions of micro-algae for help.

The carbon emitted by the fermenting beer is captured and fed to the algae which then reproduces and transforms the CO2 into oxygen.

Oscar McMahon is a co-founder of the label.

"As an urban carbon sequestration and oxygen producing solution, it's mind-blowing. We could knock down our whole site and plant trees, and those trees, it would take years before they did the same amount of carbon sequestration and oxygen creation as those two bioreactors."

The two 100 gallon bioreactors produce more oxygen than TWO hectares of Australian bushland.

The process was developed with the help of scientists at the University of Technology in Sydney.

Professor Peter Ralph says algae is extremely efficient in capturing carbon:

"So the future as I see is going to be a whole range of algae producers that are gonna take somebody's waste, whether it's CO2, nutrients from a sewage treatment plant or from food waste, taking those waste products and making a new product, and this is going to create circular economies. Instead of us digging something up, making a product and then throwing it away, we circularise it."

Not only does Young Henrys set-up algae to trap carbon but it also sends leftover grain to farmers to feed their cattle creating another circular economy.

Early research shows promising results that adding micro algae to the mix could reduce the methane emissions from cows by up to 20 percent.

As for the beer itself, the brewers are quick to reassure anyone curious about an algae aftertaste.

"Think one thing that we do get asked a lot - is, is there algae in the beer? And no, there's not algae in the beer. The beer is unchanged. The algae is just part of the production process, it never touches the beer, this is not green beer."

And customers seem happy with the shift.

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