Beer-Powered Cars And The Future Of Energy

Published July 27, 2015
Updated February 12, 2018

Getting The Ratio Right

Ethanol produced in the way pioneered by DB Export represents an important step towards a cleaner burning future, especially since Brewtroleum is fully compatible with vehicles already on the road.

Beer-Powered Cars Pints

Source: Flickr

Until now, the rate of ethanol adoption has been constrained by what’s came to be known as the “blend wall”—that is, the ratio at which a petroleum-ethanol blend can no longer be used by conventional automobiles. The compatibility and performance of ethanol drops off sharply once it reaches a ratio of one part ethanol and nine parts petroleum.

Earlier this year, representatives from the Renewable Fuels Association testified at a public hearing about the blend wall. Geoff Cooper and Randy Doyal suggested that the EPA had overstepped its legal authority by basing Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) on “perceived capacity constraints”—in other words, the blend wall.

“By embracing the ‘blend wall’ concept,” Doyal said, “the EPA proposal not only violates the law, but also undermines the incentive to biofuel production and distribution capacity, and allows oil companies to only blend as much renewable fuel as they are comfortable using.”

The good news is that DB Export has effectively side-stepped the issue by coming up with a mixture that is functionally equivalent to the E10 found at local service stations and pumped into modern cars. Beer-powered cars alone won’t be enough to stop the looming energy crisis, but it’s an important innovation, and one that should be taken seriously.

Beer-Powered Cars And Beyond

Due to an overwhelmingly positive public response, DB Export will be rolling out a series of innovations in addition to beer-powered cars as part of its “Made by Doing” advertising campaign, all in an attempt to further this initiative and create greater public awareness.

Beer-Powered Cars Pump

Source: Flickr

Whether beer-powered cars will be feasible as a long-term business venture (both logistically and financially) remains unclear at this stage. With any luck, other breweries–and hopefully ones in the United States–will take notice and follow suit, developing their own methods for turning their suds into sustainable biofuel.

If they do, we may soon see a true revolution in the automotive industry. We’re already well on our way to roads filled with driverless cars, but imagine what would be possible if we also started powering those cars with waste from the beer industry. Who wouldn’t drink to that?

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Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.