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Everyday Enviro with Elise - Algae to the rescue again

Date: 17-Mar-20
Author: Elise Catterall

Brewing beer produces a significant amount of carbon emissions at each stage of the manufacturing process, but one Sydney brewery is taking action.

Brewing beer produces a significant amount of carbon emissions at each stage of the manufacturing process, but one Sydney brewery is taking action.

A few years ago, I wrote a piece for Planet Ark about a marine algae project in the Shoalhaven region being used for carbon capture and storage (CCS). Since that time, algae has been in the news quite a bit for the potential it has to help us combat climate change. And it’s especially good news when you consider the variety of ways in which algae products can be utilised in environmentally-friendly ways, including as a biofuel, a material source, a source of nutrition, a fertiliser – the list goes on. 

Now, very happily, I’m writing about how its power is once again being used for good – this time to offset the impact of beer manufacture! Happy days. And as a bonus, by writing about this, I also get to highlight another local business that is making lowering their impact on climate a priority.

Young Henrys is a craft brewery in Inner West Sydney well known for its range of delicious beers (not to mention cider and spirits). Now it is also becoming known as a climate change innovator – all because of the bright green 400L vat of microalgae inside the brewery that is turning the carbon dioxide generated from the brewing process into oxygen.

The use of algae is helping the brewery slash their carbon emissions and, along with their extensive use of solar power and use of recyclable containers, leading them to their goal of being completely carbon neutral. That one vat accounts for the production of the equivalent amount of oxygen as a hectare of the Australian bush.

In developing the use of algae for the brewery, Young Henrys is working with the University of Technology Sydney Climate Change Cluster (C3). Together they are exploring uses of the algae beyond carbon sequestration, including some of those mentioned above. The ultimate goal is to not only increase the use of algae but also to find beneficial applications for it.

Beer manufacture produces a significant amount of carbon emissions at each stage of the manufacturing process – brewing, bottling, transporting, etc – so it is good thing to find a local manufacturer taking responsibility for the impact of their industry. This is an especially positive thing when you consider the findings of a report published in Sustainability, which stated that of the high numbers of brewers that had not committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, many were craft breweries.

It is exciting to see yet another small business coming up with innovating ideas for the greater good; we need to support those businesses with our wallets. Hopefully it will encourage other businesses – small and large, within and outside of the beer industry – to explore carbon capture or come up with other novel approaches that have a positive impact on the environment.

See you next time! - Elise

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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


Elise                                             Catterall
Author: Elise Catterall

Elise is a writer, photographer, and naturopath with a passion for nature. She completed a Master of Public Health in 2017 through the University of Sydney. Her photographic work focuses on flowers and plants as a way of celebrating nature. She has been writing for Planet Ark since 2017, sharing positive environment stories, personal environmental experiences and perspectives.

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