The state of Colorado and three small businesses are trying a novel approach to reduce carbon emissions that sounds like something out of the fever dreams of Willie Nelson: using carbon dioxide produced from beer brewing to help marijuana plants grow.
Denver Beer Co., Colorado’s seventh-largest craft brewery by volume, is testing technology developed by Austin-based Earthly Labs to capture carbon dioxide emitted naturally during fermentation that was previously vented into the air.
The refrigerator-sized device purifies the greenhouse gas and chills it into a liquid. Stored in 750-pound tanks, the recovered CO2 is transported about nine miles to the Clinic, where growers vaporize the liquid and pump it into rooms full of pot plants to speed photosynthesis.
“This is an example of something we think has great potential to scale in Colorado — we have a thriving craft brewery industry and a thriving cannabis sector,” said Gov. Jared Polis (D), whose administration provided technical and communications support, but no funding, to the project. “It’s an economic win — and it has the potential to help with climate.”
The brewery’s co-founder, Charlie Berger, said his business spent about a year testing Earthly’s CiCi, as its carbon capture technology is known.