Bill Gates has changed in one way or another sectors such as personal computing, the world of technology or, in recent years, bets as deep as trying to eliminate some diseases or reinventing nuclear energy.
Now, however, He has set his sights on something more trivial but that can touch the sensibilities of many people: beer.
Earlier this year, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and the world’s fourth-richest man, bought a nearly $1 billion stake in Heineken, the world’s third-largest brewer. Its objective? Making the way of producing beer more sustainable.
Background, his plan is to integrate it with the technology of a startup invested in in 2012 by the Bill and Melissa Gates Charitable Foundation called Epic Cleantec, within the framework of the “Reinvent the toilet” challenge. The idea was to stimulate the development of water reuse and conservation.
How does this go with beer? Try that part of the recycled water from showers or baths can be cleaned to make beer.
Beer made with wastewater
Eleven years later, according to CNBC, Epic has produced a test beer, Epic OneWater Brew, made from wastewater.
The process used could revolutionize the entire beverage industrywhile also combating growing water scarcity around the world, especially in the United States, where severe shortages are forecast starting next year due to climate change and population density.
The United Nations estimates that only 2.5% of the world’s water is freshwater, with additional pressure on that resource as the population rapidly heads toward eight billion.
A Colorado State University study published in 2019 showed that half of the 204 freshwater basins in the United States may not be able to meet monthly water demand by 2070. And the pressure on supplies is mounting.
San Francisco-based company Epic Cleantec is primarily concerned with developing water waste and reuse systems.
Its co-founder, Aaron Tartakovsky, told the network: “Water is omnipresent in all of our lives. It grows the food we eat, we use it for bathing, cooking and cleaning…and yet we know so little about how water works , how it gets to our taps and where the wastewater ends up”.
“We’re trying to amplify the story of water to tell it in a different way, and we’re using the medium of beer to tell that story,” he explained.
In an experiment, Epic ran sewage from a large San Francisco apartment block through “ultrafiltration membranes” 100 times finer than human air. These membranes filter out impurities and the clean water is disinfected with ultraviolet light.
Tartakovsky told CNBC that this process is comparable to the biology that takes place in the human stomach.
And it seems to work, so maybe soon we can see it. Of course, at present, federal and state laws prohibit Epic and Devil’s Canyon from selling their Epic OneWater beer in California or Europe, and they have only been able to distribute samples to users who have given their consent.
It may be a long time before the legislation is changed and its sale is allowed, but recycled water is already allowed in bars in Texas and Arizona.
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Bill Gates now wants to reinvent beer: this is his plan