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Australian craft brewery Young Henrys uses algae to cut CO2 emissions

Last year, craft beer maker Young Henrys installed new vats at its Sydney brewery. Not the stainless steel kind it normally uses for creating hazy pales and hoppy porters, but see-through containers filled with a fluorescent green fluid. Absinthe, perhaps...? Nope, algae.

Working with scientists from University of Technology Sydney's Climate Change Cluster, Young Henrys is using bioreactors filled with microalgae (aka phytoplankton) to cut its CO2 emissions. CO2 is naturally released during the brewing process, when brewer's yeast eats sugar and produces both alcohol and carbon dioxide. Part of that CO2 generates beer's natural fizz. The excess is tapped off the brewing vat and fed into a bioreactor where microalgae consume the CO2 and create both more algae and oxygen, which can then be released into the air instead of climate warming CO2.

Young Henrys and the university are looking into what to do with the algae, but possible uses include bio plastics, plant fertilizer and livestock feed.

Trend Bite

It's hard to find a company that isn't proclaiming its devotion to saving the planet. No wonder, since Gen Z is continuing the trend set by millennials in choosing to spend more money on goods by green and ethical brands. But consistently backing up sustainability claims takes sustained effort. The microalgae housed by Young Henrys, for example, are just the brewer's latest step in being as environmentally sound as possible. For example, its spent grain is donated to local farms as cattle feed, the brewery's roof is part of a community investment solar program and it uses refillable glass growlers for local sales. Steps worth taking and stories worth sharing :-)