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Special Report16. September 2020

THE FUTURE OF FOOD 2: Cheers to a New Trend: Beer Made From Waste Water

Though it does not sound very tasty at first sight – there are chances that beer made from wastewater will become a big trend in the future. Many of us love beer, but considering how a pint of it takes about 75 liters of water to make, it’s not exactly the most environmentally friendly drink. As we become more and more aware that we may be using water at an unsustainable pace, the idea of water footprints — the amount of water used to produce goods we consume — becomes more relevant. The recent solution of some European companies is: Drink beer made from purified wastewater!

Xylem, a water technology company from Herford in the German state of North Rhine-Westfalia, presented its “Reuse Brew” beer – a surprising feat for a country famed for its strict beer purity laws.

“We wanted to demonstrate that purified wastewater is reusable even for high quality drinks,” says Jens Scheideler of Xylem. So far, the producers have brewed 397 liters of beer for the sole purpose of promoting the reutilization of waste water in times of growing water shortage in several countries.

Meanwhile, a Swedish team of entrepreneurs and scientists is yet another step ahead: They have launched the country’s first beer made from recycled water called Pu-rest.  The beer is a crystal-clear pilsner brewed with organic pilsner malt, organic hops, lager yeast, and recycled water.

The scientists’ institute had already been developing wastewater treating technologies for about 50 years and reached out to a brewery to use purified wastewater for food production. The brewery was skeptical at first, especially regarding the cleanliness of the water. The scientists convinced them that the water – filtered through a microbiological treatment and an ultrafiltration membrane and then exposed to a bacteria-killing ultraviolet light – becomes as clean as drinkable tap water during the purifying process. Together, the team created a beer project for a great cause – and a unique way to inform people about the importance of water conservation, challenging notions about what’s possible to consume.

THE FUTURE OF FOOD 3: How to Eat Your Pizza with Marijuana – and not Get High follows next Wednesday, September 23.

Written by Marika Schaertl, freelance journalist, Munich, Germany.

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