By Trent Knoss
Two CU Boulder engineers have pioneered an ingenious way to turn Colorado’s booming craft beer economy into renewable power. Breweries need seven barrels of water to produce every barrel of beer, leaving behind vast amounts of sugary wastewater that is expensive to dispose of. Enter Tyler Huggins and Justin Whiteley. The two doctoral students asked Avery Brewing in Boulder to give them the water, which they used to grow a particular fungus. When that fungus is baked at 1,472 degrees Fahrenheit, it hardens into a carbon electrode as good as the one inside a standard lithium-ion AA battery. Huggins and Whiteley have now secured a patent and founded a startup to commercialize this technology for renewable energy storage applications. An eco friendly win-win for breweries, beer lovers and energy consumers alike? Everyone can drink to that.