As a result of rapid advancements in research and development and innovative thinking, a worldwide beverage could become the next big phenomenon in the fuel industry. An active ingredient has been identified which is present in beer and can be used as a renewable source of motor fuel, potentially replacing diesel and gasoline and requiring minimal or no engine modification.

Research is being conducted at the University of Bristol to convert ethanol, an active ingredient found in beer, into butanol through petrochemical processes similar to those used for refining gasoline. One of the benefits of using butanol as a fuel is that it can be used with current petrol cars and requiring no or very little modification.

Ethanol is currently used to create renewable fuel sources and most commonly produced from biomass such as forest products, sugar cane, molasses and corn. The plan is to convert ethanol into butanol in a large plant similar to the current petrochemical refining industry and then the butanol can be put into the car by the consumer.

At this point in time, the process cannot yet produce enough to fuel car tanks, however it is predicted that the fuel can be used on an industrial scale in less than five years time. This indicates that by 2022 butanol could become the main source of transportation.

Alcoholic drinks such as beer are an ideal model for industrial ethanol fermentation broths. If this technology works it shows potential to be scaled up to make butanol as a petrol replacement on an industrial scale.

The following research activities conducted qualify for a research and development tax credit. Swanson Reed is an R&D Tax Credit Specialist firm and can take the stress out of lodging your businesses claim. If you believe your company could qualify for an R&D tax credit, contact one of our advisors today for a free assessment.