The golden opportunity of beer for increased sustainability

Food, fish and agriculture Enzymes and proteins Food technology Innovation and product development
DTU Brewery brews beer in new ways for the benefit of the environment, and—among other things—has examined how you can skip the malting process by adding enzymes and thus save on CO2. The nutritional products contained within the side streams are also used in new and profitable ways. And you can even drink a beer made from leftover rice when sushi is made in the city of Lyngby.

DTU Brewery has examined how to skip the malting process and brew beer solely from barley, because it requires a lot of energy to convert barley to malt. To compensate for the lack of active enzymes that would usually be present in the malt, DTU Brewery instead adds industrially manufactured enzymes.

When you skip the malting process, the CO2  emission is reduced by 8 % in the total brewing process.

Better utilization of the side streams from beer
"Seen in isolation, we do not believe that we are able to save the whole world with sustainable beer. However, beer is just a small piece of the puzzle that can save the world – together with thousands of other small pieces."
Associate Professor Timothy John Hobley

The production of beer leads to a number of side streams, which is really another word for a residual product that we today focus on using instead of discarding.

Brewers’ spent grains—crushed malt extracted in water—is an example of a side stream. In the efforts to make the DTU Brewery more sustainable, the brewers have developed a compact filter that makes it possible to utilize nutrients in the spent grain in a financially viable way.

Researchers from the DTU Brewery have also made it possible to produce a sustainable draught beer using rice that Sticks’n’Sushi in the city of Lyngby has left over after making sushi. 

Read more 

Read more about how DTU Brewery develops new technologies in the production of sustainable beer in an article from the National Food Institute’s 60th anniversary publication: The golden opportunity of beer for increased sustainability.

The National Food Institute is celebrating its 60th birthday this year, as it was decided on June 5, 1959 to establish a national food institute in Denmark. The other articles from the anniversary publication will be published over the coming months.

You can also read the article: At the forefront of healthy, safe and sustainable food.

The National Food Institute creates sustainable technological solutions

Studies suggest that the food consumption accounts for approximately 25% of the total climate impact per person. Reducing the climate and environmental impact of our diet requires new and gentler production methods that emit less CO2. In addition, the consumers must change the composition of their diet.

The vision of the National Food Institute is to make a difference by creating sustainable technological solutions – e.g. to ensure that raw materials are better utilized in order to avoid production waste and to utilize the production processes more efficiently, and to make it easier for consumers to choose sustainable, high-quality foods.

For example, the work of the Institute focuses on how food companies can recycle water safely, optimize food production and save on energy and CO2, and better utilize residual products from the production of food and feed in order to develop high-value products. Furthermore, mathematical calculations of the climate impact of foods is a new focus area within the Institute’s nutritional research.


Image: National Food Institute