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Green tequila?

Dec. 7, 2010

By Zsolt Bauer

Might drinking tequila be considered a 'green' activity? One could make that argument, as waste residues from tequila production can be converted into biomass, potentially feeding industrial sectors and electrical power plants at lower cost, not including profits from sold carbon credits.
IT'S ALL GOOD: Leftover blue agave bagasse from tequila production is good for cleaner fuel. Picture: The Washington Post

Conventional tequila production in the Mexican state of Jalisco, where blue agaves are planted exclusively under law, usually generates a great deal of waste. The only part that actually generates liquid for alcohol distillation is the core of the plant, while the plant's huge leaves typically become landfill. According to statistics from a few years ago, tequila production in Jalisco resulted in 648,000 tonnes of industrial food waste (including the leaves) for the company and neighbouring communiteis to cope with.

Thanks to a renewable development project initiated by Global Green Solution, Inc. (GGRN) and Zero Energy International LLC (ZEI), Mexico has discovered a way to derive new, cleaner fuel as a by-product of tequila production. The Jalisco-based pilot project runs with the up-to-date technology, sufficient funding and positive political support, according to US-based media source

At present, beverage production residue is transformed into 1.725 tonnes of biomass per day in pellet and briquet form. The mass generates approximately 17 MJ/kg, and the pellets yield even more energy. The project is proving a win-win arrangement in terms of waste reduction, reduced industrial energy spending (up to 30 percent), biofuel product development for the European market, and surplus gains from carbon trading since Mexico's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. And, of course, the great taste of Tequila is another win by default. Salud!

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