July 20, 2023 R&D Committee Meeting

Dr. Leonard Lermer, Okanagan College, BCBTAC – Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Fermentation, Biodiesel from CO2 captured during fermentation

For every can of beer approximately 20 can volumes of CO2 is produced.  For every bottle of wine approximately 45 bottle volumes of CO2 is produced.   Reducing the carbon footprint of a brewery or winery requires a multifaceted approach.   Last summer, Tin Whistle Brewing in Penticton approached the BCBTAC to look at methods to collect and utilize the CO2 produced during fermentation.   Their goal is to become a “Carbon Neutral” brewery.  

There are several established technologies to do this, but they are typically cost prohibited to all but the largest of industries.   A group of students and I looked to develop a system that would be adoptable by small and medium industries.  To do this the design philosophy was to create a system that was efficient, cost effective, mobile, and fully automated to limit the footprint needed in each facility and to minimize any needed intervention to run the system by users. 

We have successfully designed and built a CO2 collection and algae bioreactor system to produce biodiesel.  The collection, compression, and storage system are constructed on two palates that can be easily moved with fork list or industry standard palate jack.  The collection system is adaptable to fermentation tanks in brewers, distilleries, and wineries.   The CO2 remove from the user’s site is then utilized to grow algae in a bioreactor.   Currently the algae is then harvested and used to produce biodiesel fuel.  We are also exploring other options available for developing alternative valued products using the same bio-reactor system. 

This project is aimed to provide BC Beverage Manufacturers with a unique and sustainable advantage to market themselves as “Carbon Neutral”.  The continued development of the system is progressing.  

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