Local partnership changing renewable energy - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local partnership changing renewable energy

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KENNEWICK, WA - Biofuels from corn, or even cooking oil, have been gaining popularity over the past several years.

Reporter Mackenzie Allen learned that a partnership with a local brewery could mean a breakthrough for the future of renewable energy when she visited Ice Harbor Brewing and talked with scientists about how a 150 pound donation of spent grain is playing a major role in a Department of Energy project.

The study was recently published in the ACS Chemistry and Engineering Scientific Journal, but the gist of it in simple English is this: when biofuel is created,  whatever the original material is, you end up with a carbon-rich water byproduct that is usually thrown out.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientist Dr. Dan Howe wanted to see if he could make the process more efficient, so his team studied the breakdown of the "waste water" from grain used by Ice Harbor Brewery in Kennewick and discovered they could make a green product even greener.

"We want to minimize our waste, so we take the waste and turn it into fuel," said Dr. Howe. "We take the waste from that process and we turn it into fuel. We use every molecule we can get our hands on."

Of course all of this is in the very early stages, so don't expect to be able to fill up your tank at Ice Harbor, or any other brewery, anytime soon.