The much-loved combination of beer and crisps is being harnessed for the first time to tackle climate change.
Crisps firm Walkers has adopted a technique it says will slash CO2 emissions from its manufacturing process by 70 percent. The technology will use CO2 captured from beer fermentation in a brewery, which is then mixed with potato waste and turned into fertiliser.
It will then be spread on UK fields to feed the following year's potato crop.
Typically, making fertiliser produces high CO2 emissions (OGN - The Fertiliser Problem), but the new technology adopted by Walkers can produce fertilizer without emissions, adding to a list of carbon-saving techniques that the firm already has in place.
So, the beer-and-crisps combo performs a dual function: It stops the emission of brewery CO2 into the atmosphere, and it saves on the CO2 normally generated by fertiliser manufacture.
This ingenious double whammy was developed with a grant from the UK government by a 14-employee start-up called CCm.
Walkers currently use an anaerobic digester that feeds potato waste to bacteria to produce methane, which is then burned to make electricity for the crisp-frying process. The new technology goes a step further by using the remains of the potato waste left after digestion and stirring it together with the brewery CO2 to make an enriched fertilizer. This not only encourages plant growth but also helps put carbon back into the soil.