Page 22 - Food & Drink March 2020
P. 22

Young Henrys gets the green light
An algae bioreactor could make brewing more carbon neutral for Sydney-based brewery Young Henrys. Doris Prodanovic writes.
TEAMING up with the University of Technology Sydney Climate Change Cluster (C3) to install a bioreactor at its site, brewery Young Henrys has embraced algae as a means to become more carbon neutral.
Research into algae has found its photosynthesis effectiveness is so strong, it produces more than 50 per cent of the world’s oxygen.
As CO2 is a by-product of the brewing process, the research at Young Henrys has proved that using algae to consume CO2 and release oxygen can help minimise the carbon footprint.
The glowing bioreactors contain around five million microalgae cells per millilitre, with the algae that is grown from absorbing all the CO2 having the potential to be used in other products, such as food or bioplastics.
Young Henrys co-founder Richard Adamson told Food & Drink Business they were inspired by the work being done by C3 and wanted to
get involved.
“Some of the skills we have as brewers managing yeast have an analogue in growing algae
– it’s almost like they have an inverse relationship.
“We thought it would be worth exploring how microalgae could work in a brewing operation to lower our carbon footprint and produce real world solutions.”
The CO2 from the
fermentation of one six-pack of beer takes a tree two days to absorb. With the installation of the 400-litre bioreactor at Young Henrys, it can produce an equivalent amount of oxygen as one hectare of Australian forest.
C3 executive director professor Peter Ralph says Young Henrys is the type of company taking leadership in the sustainability space.
“This partnership between UTS Climate Change
Cluster and an industry leader allows us to showcase that it is possible to have action today on climate change,” Ralph says.
“This project really showcases how research together with industry, can create practical and innovative solutions to address global problems today.”
This is the first phase of the partnership between UTS and Young Henrys, which is partly funded by an Innovation and Connections government grant. ✷
ABOVE: Young Henrys director Dan Hampton (top) and co-founders Oscar McMahon (middle) and Richard Adamson share their excitement with the 400-litre algae bioreactor.
RIGHT: Co-founder Oscar McMahon with a very different kind of brew.
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