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Karl Strauss Brewing Company and GreenHouse Partner to Create Ethanol from Beer Waste With the E-Fuel MicroFueler

San Diego, California-based GreenHouse International is partnering with Karl Strauss Brewing Company to convert spent beer yeast into ethanol, using the E-Fuel MicroFueler, a portable ethanol micro-refinery fuel system targeted at consumers and businesses. (Earlier post.)

GreenHouse Energy, a division of GreenHouse, is the exclusive distributor of the E-Fuel MicroFueler in Southern California and Arizona.

Within the agreement, Karl Strauss Brewing Company will provide 28 tons of spent beer yeast per week. GreenHouse will collect the left-over waste and distribute it throughout California to home and business-owners where, using the E-Fuel MicroFueler, they can distill their own ethanol.

The appliance-sized MicroFueler units are pump-stations and ethanol distillers requiring only three kilowatts of electricity to produce one gallon of E-Fuel100 which in turn can generate up to 23 kW of energy.

Greenhouse is also partnering with Gordon Biersch and Sierra Nevada breweries, and Sunny Delight Beverage Company, the last for sugar waste.

(A hat-tip to Jeff at San Diego News Network!)



This seems a bit strange.

They've got 28 tons of spent beer yeast per week, in one location. Then they use man hours and fuel to distribute this quantity to small businesses and to homes, who must then collect (and measure?) the fuel, use smaller (likely less efficient) devices to distill the waste into ethanol, and then convert (burn?) the fuel, again with more inefficiencies, to electricity.

Why not just have one facility at or near the waste source, and go from there, producing ethanol to be sold as ethanol? I don't understand converting it to electricity... though if it is to be converted, distributing it does make sense to get around the net metering laws perhaps.

Aureon Kwolek

The MicroFueler is totally automated. The company supplies the brewery waste as feedstock, delivered to your 250 gallon organic feedstock holding tank. That’s connected to your micro-distiller. Your main product is ethanol fuel, and using this automated system, you can make it for under $1.00 a gallon. It’s efficient and cheap.

You are displacing gasoline made from imported oil. In the U.S., you also get a pretty sizeable tax credit on the device, and you may be able to take the $45 cent per gallon blending credit as well.

The electric generator is optional. The advantage is - You are blending your ethanol 50-50 with WATER. Then combusting it in the genset for a 7 fold return: 3 kilowatts in and 23 kilowatts out. That’s from a 20% efficiency average small engine. If you used an “ethanol optimized” engine, you could get up to 50 kilowatts per gallon, a 16 fold return – Using waste feedstock and displacing fossil fuel with clean burning ethanol-water.

If you have a business with several vehicles, or a big family, or a farm, or an auto club, or a neighborhood coop, or if you want to displace fossil fuels with a cleaner source of power - derived from waste - This thing is the Bomb.

Again, you use the device to make your own ethanol fuel. Or, you get the optional “GridBuster” electric generator and get 23 kilowatts out for every 3 kilowatts in, from a 50-50 ethanol-water mixture.

Ethanol-water genset design could also be used for a range-extender engine, for charging plug-in hybrid batteries onboard - Vehicles that would be totally independent of petroleum. Go to the website and get the whole story.

Account Deleted

Seems to me to be just another huckster green thing.

The energy balance for the thing seems to have been done by Peter Pan and sprinkles of his angel dust.

If the waste from the brewery is of use to this unit then it is of far more use to a far more efficient full scale ethanol plant which would be far easier for the brewery.Here they have home delivery even - at an unspecified charge of course!

The above comment says "you may be able to take the 45 cent per gallon blending credit as well". That in itself is strange - either you can get the credit or you can't - why don't they say yes or no in place of maybe.

They are doing a lot of PR work - many stories in papers and on the net. Probably even a very few facts mixed in with all the smoke - at least one hopes so.

I like the twist in the last paragraph - if you use an ethanol only gen set you can avoid petroleum - must have taken a genius to figure that out. If the genset operates on pure ethanol then you don't need this piece of equipment or the trouble that will come with it either.

Let them get independent certification from a government agency and then do the talking in place of using of stars to promote it.


Robert Rapier ran some numbers on this concept:

Doesn't pan out. Big surprise.

Aureon Kwolek

The MicroFueler is not for skeptics. They wouldn't have the slightest idea how achieve its highest uses.

Account Deleted

@Aueron - That is the most silly statement on the net and I see it often. Anytime someone floats something fishy like the microfueler, Maglev wind turbine, a rooftop wind turbine or other item that has little or no science or engineering behind it some space cadet writes don't be negative, CAVE, skeptics don't understand or similar comment.

If the science or engineering isn't behind it then the inventor has to have discovered something totally new - that happens very rarely.

I suggest you give these guys your money - put your money where your mouth is!

Alex Kovnat

Frankly, I prefer that ethanol production not be made a do-it-yourself-at-home affair, for what should be obvious sociological reasons.

Aureon Kwolek

The following statement is False: “that has little or no science or engineering behind it” (Russ) “If the science or engineering isn't behind it”.

The “MicroFueler” is based on science that has been proven for a long time. It’s simply a still. There’s no contest in that. The device is automated - That makes it easy to use. The company periodically refills the feedstock tank with brewery waste, and the machine processes it into a reliable supply of home made liquid ethanol fuel.

Nobody is claiming that anything new has been discovered. This is more of a new business model. A company that makes it convenient for you to make your own liquid fuel from waste. That has advantages: (1) You are getting cheaper fuel, without paying retail fuel tax. (2) You can blend your own ethanol with gasoline and take a 45 cent per gallon tax credit. (3) You are displacing fuel derived from imported oil, from hostile countries and price-fixing oil cartels. (4) If you have E-85 or “ethanol optimized” vehicles, you will be relatively energy independent for liquid fuel. (5) Using ethanol made from waste, you are not adding more CO2 to the atmosphere by burning mined fossil fuels. Instead, you are recycling existing CO2 embodied in the organic feedstock. Anybody with a brain would see the advantage in that.


This is similar to victory gardens during world war 2. Nobody is claming that vg's won the war, but every little bit helped.

Aureon Kwolek

The other component is the optional “GridBuster”, which is also proven science. It’s simply a small internal combustion engine, generating electricity, that runs on ethanol diluted with water. There’s nothing new about that. Henry Ford’s Model T ran on 82% ethanol and 18% water. DongFang, a major Chinese automaker, has a line of vehicles running on 65% ethanol and 35% water. It’s a scientific FACT that ethanol will still combust when mixed with water - up to a 50-50 ratio.

In Mumbai INDIA, Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), has developed environmentaly friendly ethanol lanterns and stoves that burn 50-50 ethanol-water. That’s a fact. And the “GridBuster” is burning the same ratio of ethanol-water. This is proven technology.

See: “Toyota R&D Lab Efficiently Produces Hydrogen from Ethanol”. This describes a 50%-50% ethanol-water fuel reformer that Toyota has developed:

“Experiments using 2.45GHz microwaves demonstrated that a reaction occurs in around 10 seconds and that 0.92 liters of hydrogen can be obtained from 1ml of a 50-50 ethanol-water mixture. The energy conversion efficiency is around 80%, twice as high as conventional technologies.” (Green Car Congress)

Onboard ethanol-water to hydrogen is being developed as a next generation fuel for range-extender engines and fuel cells, to keep EV batteries charged.

Account Deleted

@Aueron - look at their site:

"eliminating many problems associated with large-scale ethanol production, namely inefficient transportation and distribution, and the use of coal-fired electrical plants." The e-fuel unit has the same delivery except less efficient.

"cellulosic materials** Additional processing outside of the MicroFueler may be required." I suppose so (my comment)

"In addition to the favorable fuel economy findings, the research provides strong evidence that standard, non-flex-fuel vehicles can operate on ethanol blends beyond 10 percent. The three non-flex-fuel vehicles tested operated on levels as high as E65 before any engine fault codes were displayed. Emissions results for the ethanol blends were also favorable for nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and non-methane organic gases, showing an especially significant reduction in CO2 emissions for each vehicle's "optimal" ethanol blend." My comment - they are referring to your car? doubt it!

"Groundbreaking Study Finds that Certain Ethanol Blends can Provide Better Fuel Economy than Gasoline." My comment - properly set up you can prove most anything - independent controlled and peer reviewed studies count - this kind of stuff counts for nothing except publicity.

"Anybody with a brain", as you put it, would see this is most likely a scam!

Like I said before - If you like it so much be the next one to put down your 10,000 USD

Aureon Kwolek

I’ve already been to their website several times. I don’t represent them, and I don’t have any financial interest in the company. Their ideology is not perfect, just like a multitude of other websites that hype their products. I just like the concept of exploiting waste and making home made fuel that replaces foreign oil. Of course, skeptics don’t see the benefit in that. They want to nit-pick about all the imperfections.

This is going to evolve. Localizing the feedstock is the next step. If you could get the feedstock across town or down the road or off your own property, that would be better. Your calling attention to the transportation factor has merit. But the feedstock for any fuel has to be shipped to where it’s processed.

Because of our addiction, we’re shipping roller coaster crude oil half way around the world, from the Middle East, using dirty bunker fuel, then unloading it into refinery tanks, or shipping it again to the refinery, processing the oil into fuels, then distributing gasoline to blending terminals, and then shipping it to retail outlets - Not energy efficient and not environmentally sound. Compare this to recycling CO2 instead of adding CO2 to the atmosphere, exploiting a waste stream instead of paying to dispose of it, and shipping domestic brewery waste directly to your own personal refinery.

It’s not the “same delivery” as you falsely claim. Shipping brewery waste directly to your own refinery Does Not equate with raising and harvesting corn and shipping it to the refinery. Then processing corn into fuel. Then shipping the fuel to distributors who ship the fuel to consumers.

The MicroFueler consumes and disposes of waste and is Not less efficient than conventional ethanol, even after the feedstock is shipped. This is especially true if the 50-50 ethanol-water powered generator is used to self-power the distillery unit and produce a 7 fold return of surplus electric power or liquid fuel - your flexible choice.

Efficiency is not always the bottom line. If it was, we’d all be riding bicycles, which are a lot more efficient than cars. But for most of us, that wouldn’t be practical. Practicality and usefulness is also important. The device is extremely useful and practical. You get cheaper fuel. You don’t pay retail tax on that fuel. You’re not subject to the cost gyrations of crude oil. You save 45 cents a gallon on the blender’s credit. You have a back-up supply of your own electric power from a clean, home made fuel that you cut in half with water. Of course skeptics don’t see the advantage of all that.

Who cares about cellulosic materials? The machine doesn’t have to do everything. What it does with brewery waste or food waste or starch or sugar waste is plenty useful. And the ethanol-water gen-set goes way beyond that. If you had a big family, or a bakery, or a restaurant, or a food processing plant, or an apple orchard, or a farm, or a patch of sweet sorghum or starchy vegetation, or a pond of algae or duckweed on your property – the device would be extremely useful. Their will be numerous niches for this product.

All gasoline in Brazil has 24-25% ethanol mixed in, running in non-flex fuel engines, many made by GM. In the near future, we are going to go to E-12 or E-15. Converting an engine to flex fuel costs under $150. This is going to be mandated in the U.S. for all new vehicles. The fuel is cheaper and Domestically Made. People prefer it for that reason alone.

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