More booze, less CO2

A fermenting system being developed in the UK could increase alcohol production by up to 20 times and help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The technology, being developed at Manchester Metropolitan University, is claimed to be far more efficient than the existing fermentation process, where ethyl alcohol is produced in batches.

With the new system sugar is fed through a fluidised bed of catalysts, to allow a continuous production of alcohol. The process will use agricultural and food industry waste as a source of sugar, while the ethanol produced can be used as motor fuel.

The university will develop the system with TTZ in Germany, the National Institute of Industrial Engineering and Technology and Coimbra University in Portugal. It will then be commercialised by a consortium of firms in the UK, Germany, Spain and Portugal.