Nov 20, 2020

World first: Dutch brewery burns iron as a clean, recyclable fuel

Posted by in categories: business, energy

Burning iron as clean fuel.

Very interesting. I wonder if this method can become mainstream. 😃

Many industries use heat-intensive processes that generally require the burning of fossil fuels, but a surprising green fuel alternative is emerging in the form of metal powders. Ground very fine, cheap iron powder burns readily at high temperatures, releasing energy as it oxidizes in a process that emits no carbon and produces easily collectable rust, or iron oxide, as its only emission.

If burning metal powder as fuel sounds strange, the next part of the process will be even more surprising. That rust can be regenerated straight back into iron powder with the application of electricity, and if you do this using solar, wind or other zero-carbon power generation systems, you end up with a totally carbon-free cycle. The iron acts as a kind of clean battery for combustion processes, charging up via one of a number of means including electrolysis, and discharging in flames and heat.

Recently, Swinkels Family Brewers in the Netherlands has become the first business in the world to put this process to work at an industrial scale. The company has been working with the Metal Power Consortium and researchers at TU Eindhoven to install a cyclical iron fuel system at its Brewery Bavaria that’s capable of providing all the heat necessary for some 15 million glasses of beer a year.

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