Breweries Are Turning CO2 Into Liquid Gold By Selling It To Cannabis Growers

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The technology is becoming available to smaller brewers

Carbon dioxide is a precious commodity in brewing. The gas is what gives beer its fizz.

Although literally tons of it are produced during fermentation, CO2 is not easy or cheap for small brewers to capture, so it’s often vented into the atmosphere. Instead of grabbing that CO2 to carbonate beer, tanks of CO2 are trucked in from across the country to meet brewers’ needs.

Earthly Labs, a startup out of Texas, hopes to change that. The company wants to establish a recycling loop via a fridge-sized machine named CiCi — shorthand for “carbon capture” — that allows small breweries to trap their CO2, use it to carbonate their beers and potentially sell extra gas to others who need it.

Launched in 2016, Earthly Labs, based in Austin, Texas, operates as a public benefit corporation, meaning it’s a for-profit business that prioritizes contributions that are socially good– in this case, targeting one of the main greenhouse gases that contributes to the rapid warming the planet.

Earthly Labs’ goal is to avoid the emission of 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (about 26 billion trees) by making the pricey CO2 capture systems used by large, multinational companies economical enough for craft brewers and other small businesses.

“Our original vision: Breweries capture their waste and reuse it, save money and, in the process, save the planet,” Amy George, Earthly Labs’ founder and chief executive officer, told CNN Business.

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