Totally brotastic: a home ethanol kit that runs off of discarded beer yeast. The entrepreneurs behind startup E-Fuel, who have been hawking a washer-and-dryer-sized home ethanol system called the E-Fuel 100 MicroFueler, say this morning that they’ve done a deal with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to use the beer maker’s yeast waste as a feedstock.
Starting in the second quarter, Sierra Nevada will place MicroFuelers at its Chico, Calif., brewery and make ethanol from the 1.6 million gallons of nasty bottom-of-the-barrel beer yeast waste. E-Fuel’s system requires just sugar plus yeast to create ethanol, which the company claims can be made for a dollar a gallon (that’s got to largely depend on the feedstock). While it sounds a lot like a backyard moonshine still, one of the product’s innovations is supposedly an advanced membrane distiller that can separate water from alcohol with fewer steps and lower heat than other ethanol systems.
E-Fuel was started by entrepreneurs Floyd Butterfield and Thomas Quinn. According to reports Butterfield has been working on ethanol still designs for decades, and Quinn is responsible for innovations like the motion sensor in the Nintendo Wii.