By on August 6, 2015


A New Zealand chemist has found a good use for spent yeast normally discarded after brewing beer, Popular Mechanics is reporting (via AutoFocus).

It’s not the first time beer-based ethanol has been used to power cars, but New Zealanders can fill up on 98-octane (!) booze-fuel for a limited time. The mix is 90 percent gas to 10 percent beer ethanol.

(Note: I covered parts of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver and remember the Coors-powered cars in Denver and think it’s the best imaginable use of Coors Light)

New Zealand-based brewery DB Exports calls their fuel “Brewtoleum,” but they have a much more clever marketing campaign.

Alcohol and motors are nothing new: Top Alcohol dragsters, most cars on the road in Brazil and corn-fed ethanol in the states.

But for beer-producing states in the United States (California, Michigan, North Carolina, Colorado, Oregon and the other 45 states in the union) the spent yeast conversion could justify keeping whatever it is that Anheuser-Busch makes these days around for longer.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

9 Comments on “Beer-based Ethanol is the Best/Worst Idea for Car Fuel...”

  • avatar

    Excellent now if we can just get mandates for additional beer production to create the discarded yeast…

  • avatar

    Although I hate the use of alcohol in fuel, I can at least accept this concept.

    I have never been able to get my mind around the use of our food as a means of fuel when there are other sources. Not to mention the best is still plentiful. Burning this planet’s food for fuel is a measurement on the level of insanity in the world today.

    There might be starving people, but we find it socially acceptable to burn food.

    Plus the total loss of energy by the dilution from alcohol and the increased consumption through lower MPG still cannot be explained.

    And when I see the availability and the crashing of the price of oil today and look back on the doomsday criers all these years, I can no longer bother to listen to the sky is falling headlines. It is all politics. Oh my, look…the world did not end and we did not run out!

    However…IF the alcohol comes from unused and otherwise discarded waste…then I can be a bit more willing to consider.

    • 0 avatar

      Something like 40 percent of american food is thrown away. The subject of this article would be using waste material from a food production process. “Burning food” this is not. What’s insane is that there are no tax breaks for food producers to donate their excess product to food pantries and other charities.

      • 0 avatar

        ya…guess you misunderstood me.
        I might not agree at all with that number you quote…however I am fully aware of this waste for fuel program and as such I kind of like it.
        And as for food being thrown out…that is not the same as burning it before it even gets purchased as food.
        I get the waste part.
        Bad Americans!

        • 0 avatar

          People starving in other countries is mostly due to infrastructure and politics, not lack of food worldwide. The corn grown for ethanol is not the same as what is grown for human consumption, either.

          That said, I think corn ethanol in the US is a horrible thing. It is depleting topsoil, depleting aquifers, depleting non-renewable fertilizer feeds, and polluting waterways with runoff.

          I’d rather see the farmland fallow. Let it grow up into “weeds” naturally and put cows/goats/sheep/chickens/buffalo on it to graze naturally. Free range meat for all! Or, grow food that would normally be grown in California so that Californians can stop trying to grow food in the desert.

          • 0 avatar

            where did you here about corn grown for fuel is not the same as corn for human consumption?
            It isn’t sweet corn we are talking about here.
            This is the very same corn used for starch, oil and animal feed.
            There is no corn grown just for fuel…unless the farmer decides where the better money can be gotten when planning the selling.

            However, I heartily agree with you about the stupid land use/abuse here. We need to understand this entire program is political and about money.

    • 0 avatar

      Driving spoiled ADHD children to soccer games in which they do not keep score in leased SUVs that the family could not afford to buy in 6 years of payments using over watered and fertilized corn that destroys our croplands so that we can starve brown and black people is true progress.

  • avatar

    I thought this stuff was made into vegemite and/or marmite?

  • avatar

    98 octane in NZ (and much of the rest of the world) is equivalent to about 93 octane in the US and Canada. It’s premium, not racing fuel.

    Conspiracy mongers probably don’t realize that ethanol serves as an octane booster. That allows refiners to refine gasoline to a lower octane level (which saves a bit of oil), then boost it up with the ethanol.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • la834: This is basically Elon realizing that Tesla may need to advertise as increasingly numerous, increasingly...
  • Ol Shel: Bah! Kids these days! They don’t even like being jerked around by sleazy car dealers! What is this...
  • dal20402: I think he would rather be making deliveries to his buddy Vladimir Vladimirovich in Moscow.
  • mor2bz: I wish I could agree with you but I do not. Musk claims that incessant badmouthing of his company would be...
  • EBFlex: “ The same batch of people will whine about “defunding” and in the same breath complain about the...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber