As reported in Anthropocene magazine, a study in the Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology has shown that brewer’s grain can be converted into two forms of carbon using readily available and inexpensive chemicals combined with heat. Both carbon compound have many high-value applications.
A Belfast team first dried the grain then mixed in phosphoric acid and then potassium hydroxide, heating and drying after each step. The researchers use this material as the carbon source, which can then be used in many applications such as carbon water filters. To make carbon nanotubes requires one more processing step, which can then be used to make tough composites and even converted into liquid fuels. This could revolutionize the simple byproduct of brewing far beyond the application of animal feed and possibly create a demand that would add revenue for the brewer.
Full study here.