December 08, 2017 at 10:01 AM
After years of work, Scientists from the University of Bristol School of Chemistry have had a major breakthrough in finding a way to turn pints into petrol to power cars.
The experts have been looking to find a sustainable alternative to fossil fuelled transportation for several years, and have been looking for technology to convert alcohol into a petrol alternative.
Professor Duncan Wass, whose team has been leading the research explains "The alcohol in alcoholic drinks is actually ethanol – exactly the same molecule that we want to convert into butanol as a petrol replacement. So alcoholic drinks are an ideal model for industrial ethanol fermentation broths – ethanol for fuel is essentially made using a brewing process."
Whilst ethanol is not a suitable substitute for petrol because of its lower energy density and its potential to prove corrosion to car engines, butanol could be a better alternative - although the challenge is producing it from sustainable sources, according to experts. The University of Bristol scientists used a catalyst to speed up the process of converting ethanol found in beer, into butanol. However, Wass added "We wouldn’t actually want to use beer on an industrial scale and compete with potential food crops."
The researchers are now looking to roll out their process on a larger scale, but this could take several years.