skip to Main Content
State of Colorado pilot program connects breweries and cannabis cultivators to capture and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 


Denver, Colo. (Jan. 29, 2020): The State of Colorado, Earthly Labs, Denver Beer Co., and The Clinic announced today a new pilot program to establish the first commercial exchange of recovered carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. The pilot program captures and stores excess carbon dioxide produced during the beer fermentation process for later reuse by cannabis cultivators that require carbon dioxide to stimulate plant growth during cultivation. The exchange fills a need for both industries while reducing carbon dioxide emissions in Colorado.

“As a state, we’ve committed ourselves to ambitious, wide-ranging strategies to reduce harmful greenhouse gases. This pilot program is a perfect example of the state’s willingness to embrace creative solutions and call on businesses to innovate to help build a healthier, cleaner, more sustainable Colorado.” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

Earthly Labs, a public benefit corporation dedicated to reducing carbon dioxide emissions from small scale emission sources, Denver Beer Co., a Colorado-based craft brewery, and The Clinic, a dispensary chain located in and around Denver, have partnered to implement the innovative carbon dioxide capture technology for the first time as part of the State of Colorado’s Pilot Program. 

“This is a classic win-win-win scenario,” said Kaitlin Urso, environmental protection specialist for the small business assistance program at the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division. “We’re connecting companies that have excess carbon dioxide with companies that need it, and in the process we’re reusing CO2 that would otherwise be released directly into the environment.”

The pilot program aims to prove that even small businesses can economically capture their own carbon dioxide emissions and find a productive use for it, while paying off the cost of their initial investment in carbon capture technology at a much faster rate. Brewers can use some of their own captured carbon dioxide, then sell the excess. 

The beer-brewing process —  specifically, the fermentation stage — naturally produces carbon dioxide. While beer makers use carbon dioxide to carbonate beer and pressurize lines throughout their facilities, the current practice for most brewers, especially smaller-scale craft brewers, is to vent carbon dioxide from fermentation and purchase carbon dioxide from an outside source for carbonation. Using the technology, brewers can instead capture and store excess carbon dioxide for use by cannabis growers.

“Denver Beer Co. is proud to work with The Clinic and Earthly Labs in pioneering this new exchange market. This innovative technology will greatly reduce our carbon emissions and carbon footprint,” said Charlie Berger, co-founder of Denver Beer Co. “At Denver Beer Co., we believe in the importance of environmental stewardship.  We have one planet, and we believe it is our corporate and social responsibility to help conserve and protect our resources.”   

The legal marijuana industry is a large market for carbon dioxide consumption, as carbon dioxide is used to grow premium product in a condensed time span and increase yields. Carbon dioxide is a key component in the cannabis plant growth process as the plant translates light into the energy needed for growth.  

“The Clinic consistently strives to incorporate sustainable practices into our operations,” said Brian Cusworth, director of operations for The Clinic.  “We know that the nation is watching Colorado to see how cultivators of legal marijuana handle our responsibilities to our customers, our community and our planet.”

The pilot program aims to demonstrate a cost-efficient way for breweries and marijuana businesses to slash their carbon dioxide emissions, as companies will no longer have to purchase carbon dioxide from power plants and have it shipped by truck across the state. Implementation of this technology will meaningfully reduce the transportation portion of their carbon footprint. 

Beginning in January, carbon dioxide produced by the beer brewing process at Denver Beer Co. will be captured using Earthly Labs’ system and will then be transferred via holding tanks to The Clinic where it will be released to stimulate marijuana plant growth. The brewery can capture over 100,000  lbs/year with this technology.  

“Earthly Labs’ vision is to capture and avoid 1 billion metric tons of CO2,” said CEO Amy George. “The State of Colorado is leading the charge in the country to promote small scale carbon capture investment to meet their 2030 goals. We are thrilled to help these industry pioneers reduce costs, drive innovation, and improve the quality of life in Colorado.”  

About the Small Business Assistance Program:

The Small Business Assistance Program (SBAP) provides free support, education, outreach and advocacy to help small businesses achieve, maintain and go beyond compliance with federal and state environmental regulations through technical assistance, education, and communication. Kaitlin Urso is a free environmental consultant for the SBAP at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in Denver, CO. She has 10 years of technical environmental experience and a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Colorado.  In her role, Kaitlin rotates through industries to focus on providing proactive environmental assistance to and create lasting program resources for. Kaitlin specializes in greening the brewing and cannabis industries to help them in becoming more environmentally friendly.

Press contacts:

Diana Crawford (Denver Beer Co) [email protected], 502-727-8881

Gina Cannon (The Clinic) [email protected], 847-361-0506

Amy George (Earthly Labs) [email protected], 512-680-0142

Kaitlin Urso (CDPHE), [email protected], 303-692-3175



This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Stories

Hickenlooper: Law preventing cannabis business banking ‘a recipe for disaster’

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said Wednesday that federal law prohibiting cash-only cannabis businesses from using banks must be changed. Despite recreational marijuana being legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia, it is still classified as a Schedule I narcotic under federal law. Banks that provide services to cannabis companies —…

Bipartisan bill aims to add new rules to Florida’s medical marijuana industry

After years of partisan squabbling over the fate of Florida’s medical marijuana program, Democrats and Republicans are coming together to push what they’re calling a major reform bill. It could make it a lot harder for Floridians to get their hands on delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products. Those smokable and edible products have been part of…

Arizona accepting applications for 26 lucrative marijuana licenses for ‘social-equity’

The Arizona Department of Health Services has started accepting applications for “social-equity” marijuana shop licenses despite lawsuits seeking to stop the program and make it more inclusive. The new licenses are intended to help people harmed by previous marijuana laws before the drug was legalized for recreational use last year by giving 26 individuals licenses to…

Only a few cannabis workers in Illinois are unionized 2 years after full legalization. Organizers say corporate owners have put up fierce resistance.

Cannabis workers pushing to unionize amid complaints of low wages and rough working conditions claim they’ve faced stiff resistance from the corporate pot firms that employ them. In January of 2020, with the blessing of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, employees at Cresco Labs’ cultivation center in Joliet voted to become the first Illinois cannabis workers…

More Categories

Back To Top
×Close search