Budweiser plans green hydrogen plant to power Lancashire brewery

Budweiser has extended its partnership with energy firm Protium to develop a plant located near its Lancashire brewery that would cover heating and transport needs with green hydrogen energy.

Budweiser plans green hydrogen plant to power Lancashire brewery

Image: Budweiser

The brewer and energy firm Protium have announced plans to transform its Samlesbury brewery, which has the capacity to brew 295 million pints per year, into a net-zero facility powered by green hydrogen.

The Samlesbury Net Zero project would be fed by green hydrogen from a co-located hydrogen production facility that would lie just off the A59 between Preston and Blackburn. Protium will soon submit a planning application for the project, which would consist of electrolysers, an associated plant and a refuelling station.

When operational, green hydrogen would meet the demand for the site’s thermal, heating and transport needs, with Budweiser set to switch parts of its fleet to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as well.

Budweiser and Protium are aiming to have the project operational by the end of 2025 and state that the Samlesbury Net Zero project would save up to 11,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

Budweiser’s head of procurement and sustainability Luiz Brandao said: “Sustainability is core to our business at Budweiser Brewing Group as we work towards net zero ambitions. Innovative solutions like hydrogen have huge potential for reducing our carbon footprint in the UK and moving us towards our ambitious sustainability goals.”

The companies state that the project would also support regional efforts to decarbonise. Both South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council have targets in place to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.

The green hydrogen would be created at the facility through electrolysis, with renewable energy used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Protium would then feed the hydrogen directly into the brewery’s boilers.

The UK Government’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) has repeatedly maintained that hydrogen is a non-optional facet of the UK’s transition to net-zero by 2050. But, while it can help to reduce oil and gas use in some hard-to-abate sectors, it is not inherently ‘green’ – more than 95% of the hydrogen produced globally in 2020 required fossil-powered processes.

Project portfolio

Budweiser Brewing Group and Protium announced plans to utilise onsite renewables at the Magor brewery in South Wales to generate hydrogen to power the facility back in 2021.

The project, set to become operational in 2024, would build the first large-scale hydrogen generation system at a brewery. An existing array of onsite wind and solar generation assets will be used to manufacture green hydrogen at Protium’s Hydrogen Production Facility (HPF), located adjacent to the brewery.

The facility will include battery storage and a hydrogen refuelling station for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and forklift trucks. It is anticipated to save approximately 15,500 tonnes of carbon emissions annually from 2027, the equivalent of removing 3,300 cars from UK roads.

The use of green hydrogen technology will assist with the overall aim of making the brewery carbon neutral. Budweiser already uses 100% renewable electricity for the site.

Globally, Budweiser’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), has 2025 Sustainability Goals which include 100% of its electricity throughout its worldwide operations to come from renewable sources.

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