Cheers to New Biofuels! How Innovation in Brewing is Creating New Avenues to Fuel Production

For years, beer has brought people together. Thanks to recent innovations and new technologies in industries ranging from fuel production to food production & nutrition, beer is bringing even more people together in new ways never imagined.

Several companies have discovered vital solutions to the wasteful bi-products of the brewing process. Now, instead of heading for the landfill, the used biomass from wheat, barley, millet, and other grains is now being used to create food, fuel, and most importantly, cutting-edge jobs in the Ag sector.

Read on to learn how innovations like these are driving a spike in demand for today’s top talent in Ag.

Beer Waste Being Turned into New Biofuels

A recent article in Science Focus illustrated how 85% of the waste caused by brewing is nutrient-rich spent grains. 30% of this material is made up of protein, while the remaining 70% is fiber.

Previously, such a large amount of fiber was too much for humans to digest this brewing bi-product. While some of this bi-product was turned into livestock feed, it was generally thrown away.

But Virginia Tech has recently teamed up with local breweries to extract nutrients from spent grain using alcalase as a treatment method, the group separated and sieved the grain into a protein concentrate and fiber-rich material.

From this process, they were able to extract over 80% of protein from the grain to be used as an alternative protein source in a variety of foods. 

Furthermore, another Virginia Tech team treated the fiber with a recently discovered bacteria species called Bacillus licheniformis. This process resulted in converting certain sugars into 2,3-butanediol, which is used in biofuels. 

While the food source innovation has positive implications for agriculture, the biofuel innovation mentioned above is a critical focal point. 

Demand for Biofuels on the Rise

This new and innovative method to develop biofuels is undoubtedly exciting. Still, it’s only valuable if there is a demand for biofuels. During the shutdown during the pandemic, the demand for biofuels was underwhelming. 

But now, demand has returned. To meet the demand, two Arthur Daniel Midland (ADM) biofuel plants are restarting ethanol production in full force.

This piece of news comes after ADM halted ethanol production at its Cedar Rapids and Columbus facilities in April 2020 due to the low demand for petrol.

Beyond the increase in drivers on the road, ADM credits the increased demand for ethanol to a shrinking global supply and the EPA’s push to add more renewable fuel into diesel and petrol production.

How Can Ag Industries Respond to This Growing Demand?

What do innovations like the increased demand for biofuels and new ways to reuse previously wasted industrial bi-products indicate for the future of our Ag industries?

Ag companies will need more innovation from the top, down. Not just to leverage the new and evolving uses for their products but to foster environments of invention and entrepreneurship in their own companies. Especially as valuable resources like water become even more scarce.

That means, there are a host of new demands coming down the pipeline for executives and management-level leaders in Ag. Those producers in Ag will soon need to take a hard look at their C-Suite roster and begin recruiting today for the C-Suite talent in the grains and biofuel space who’ll be making tomorrow’s headlines.

If your organization is looking for these high-performing and innovative executives in the agricultural space, contact Ag 1 Source today, for top talent.