During the brewing process, yeast is added to initiate fermentation, converting sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide. Before full maturation of the beer, the excess yeast is collected and can be re-used in the brewing process up to around six times. After this, it becomes brewer’s spent yeast (BSY). With 15% of the total by-products generated during brewing, BSY is the second biggest by product of the brewing process. It is an interesting by- product since its contains a high level of nutrients and several technologies exist that can turn this by-product into a valuable resource. However, to date its industrial utilization is very limited because of the fast contamination and spoilage of BSY as a result of the activity of microorganisms. This has hampered the large scale use of some technologies for using BSY. Drying the spent yeast can make it last longer, but this is an expensive process that requires large amounts of energy. Hence spent yeast is mainly sold in its wet form as animal feed to farmers.


Project objectives

The objective of this LIFE project is to develop a new and innovative method to use BSY as a raw material. By developing alternative uses of BSY, BDi biotechnology and AB InBev, main partners of the LIFE YEAST project, strive to build a more sustainable brewing process and increase resource efficiency, fully compliant with the circular economy concept.

These goals are totally aligned with our dream to create a better world. Therefore LIFE YEAST aims to contribute to the transition towards a circular economy by:

  • developing a new methodology to process BSY into valuable constituents that can be used as raw materials in a wide range of industrial applications,
  • developing new applications for BSY, with an emphasis on technologies that are at or close to market readiness.

The above mentioned BSY constituents are Customized Yeast Extract (CYE), Yeast Cell Wall (YCW), Partially Autolysed Yeast (PAY) and bioactive peptides.

Expected results

With this project we first of all optimize and scale up the processes to obtain different valuable products streams from BSY.

In a second phase, VLPbio and AB InBev aim to demonstrate and validate the use of CYE and YCW in their production processes.

Finally, the project is expected to obtain an industrializable technology package to be implemented in commercial breweries and to explore new partnerships to valorize these interesting constituents in other industries, such as the food and cosmetic industry for B2B relations.


LIFE a funding instrument of the EU which supports the environment and climate action. The objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, update and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects which add value to Europe. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed more than 4,300 projects.

In 2017 the European Commission approved the co-financing of LIFE Yeast project.


BDi Biotechnology (Valladolid, Spain), coordinator
AB InBev nv/sa (Leuven, Belgium), associated beneficiary
VLPbio (Valladolid, Spain), associated beneficiary


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