Budweiser to deliver carbon-neutral brewery through green hydrogen deal

Budweiser Brewing Group has unveiled plans to create its first green hydrogen supply to a brewery, through a new agreement with energy firm Protium to use onsite renewables at the Magor brewery in South Wales to generate hydrogen to power the facility.

Budweiser to deliver carbon-neutral brewery through green hydrogen deal

The facility will include battery storage and a hydrogen refuelling station for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and forklift trucks

Budweiser Brewing Group, the UK arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), will work with Protium to develop and deploy zero-emission green hydrogen at its Magor brewery.

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.

Budweiser’s head of sustainability and procurement Mauricio Coindreau said: “Sustainability and the wellbeing of our planet are at the core of our business. Innovative energy solutions like hydrogen have huge potential as a key part of our sustainability strategy, helping us significantly reduce our UK carbon footprint.

“As a company, we are committed to continuously exploring technology that can help us meet our ambitious 2025 Sustainability Goals, so the key focus of this project is to ensure the efficient operation, application, and sustainability advantages of green hydrogen.”

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. It is hoped that as renewable electricity generation scales up in line with long-term climate and energy targets, the cost of green hydrogen will fall.

The HPF will also use renewable energy from local generation assets. The two companies will also introduce a hydrogen purchase agreement (HPA) for the zero-emissions solution.

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

Sustainability aims

Globally, AB InBev has 2025 Sustainability Goals which includes 100% of its electricity throughout its worldwide operations to come from renewable sources.

Last month, Budweiser unveiled plans to trial the production of beer cans with its lowest lifecycle carbon footprint, by collaborating with key companies across the value chain including aluminium producer EN+ Group.

Budweiser will aim to reduce the emissions of its 440ml cans using bespoke aluminium manufacturing technology from EN+ Group and renewable electricity across all areas of the value chain.

Earlier this year, aluminium and hydropower giant EN+ Group built on a target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 by also confirming the development of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium from inert anode technologies.

According to the Group, metal produced with inert anodes has a carbon footprint that is 85% lower compared to traditional production methods. The new-generation inert anode electrolysers have currently enabled the Group to produce aluminium with less than 0.01 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per tonne of metal. The process also creates the release of pure oxygen. The company claims that “just one of our inert anode cells can generate the same volume of oxygen as 70 hectares of forest”.

In June, AB InBev unveiled new lightweight beer bottles that have a reduced carbon footprint of 17% compared to its other bottle types, with plans in place to roll them out across Europe.

Commenting on the announcement, Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd said: “I am very pleased this project is taking place right here in Wales. Tackling climate change is a priority for the Welsh Government and this project at an important employer in the sector will be important to our efforts. It also has the potential to create new jobs and exciting opportunities in the area for years to come.”

Matt Mace

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