Students from the University of Pennsylvania have developed a process to speed up beer fermentation by three times, a discovery that could have a dramatic impact on the economics of producing beer and other foods such as yogurt that include fermentation, according to an article from Philly.com. The solution involves applying droplet micro-fluidic fabrication technology, an emerging technology being used in the pharmaceutical industry, to beer manufacturing. The article describes the technology as, “using ultratiny plumbing to dispense millions of ultratiny droplets of liquids, each containing only 100 picoliters of fluid.”
The student team, named Fermento, includes two students enrolled in the Wharton School and another in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Their proof-of-concept experiment won the grand prize, and $10,000, in the 2016 Y Prize competition, which challenges students to propose innovative commercial applications for technology invented by Penn researchers. The beer-fermentation application is based on technology previously developed by a Penn postdoctoral student. According to the article, the team’s next steps include R&D and prototyping and they hope to have a product on the market in six months.
Read the entire article here.