Dutch Brewery Uses Iron Powder In Beer-Making Process

An unexpected energy source

Swinkels Family Brewers
Would you like some iron in your beer?
Swinkels Family Brewers

Barley, hops and malt are all things that come to mind when pondering the process of making beer. One item that’s not on that list is iron powder — but maybe it should be. Why? Well, for starters, it’s environmentally friendly and carbon neutral. That may be why the Dutch brewery Swinkels Family Brewers has made its first foray into incorporating iron into its process, a blend of beer-making tradition and modern technology that hits home.

Writing at Earther, Tom McKay explains why this is such a big deal — and charts out the partnership that made it happen. Burning iron releases energy, which can be used in a host of industrial processes; once burned, the process leaves behind rust, which can then be turned back into iron. Looking for a renewable energy source? This is the very definition of one, and a relatively affordable one at that.

This particular brewing project is the result of a collaboration between SOLID of TU Eindhoven (TU/e), Swinkels Family Brewers and the Metal Power consortium. The installation was set up at Swinkels Family Brewers’ Brewery Bavaria. Earther’s article notes that the current setup there is capable of providing enough power to make 15 million glasses of beer in a year. Could this become a more widespread phenomenon? We’ll see if more breweries follow the example of this one.


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