HEINEKEN: World’s largest solar thermal plant

At a glance
Who: HEINEKEN and CSIN (Solatom Indertec Company)
What: World’s largest solar thermal plant with Fresnel technology
Where: Quart de Poblet, Valencia, Spain
Why: To transition to renewable thermal energy and achieve net-zero emissions by 2040
When: Completed in eight months; operational as of 2024

The challenge

The beverage industry’s emissions in 2021 accounted for 1.5 billion tons of CO2, which is equivalent to 3.8% of global emissions. Research found that the industry remains on the verge of missing its 2030 and 2050 climate targets.

The primary challenge was to develop a renewable energy solution to reduce the brewery’s carbon footprint and help HEINEKEN achieve its net-zero emissions target by 2040.

The solution

The solution was the construction of a solar thermal plant using advanced Fresnel technology, designed to generate renewable thermal energy and significantly cut CO2 emissions.

This state-of-the-art facility, utilising innovative Fresnel technology, marks a step toward HEINEKEN’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2040. Constructed in just eight months, this plant will significantly reduce CO2 emissions and boost renewable energy use at HEINEKEN’s Valencia brewery.

How the project works

The solar thermal plant utilises linear Fresnel technology, which captures solar radiation and concentrates it to generate steam through turbines. The facility features a solar field with 6,000 m² of mirrors and 182 Fresnel modules, achieving a peak thermal power of 4 megawatts (MW), which covers 10% of the steam demand at the Valencia brewery.

Additionally, it has a 1.5 megawatt-hour (MWh) storage capacity, allowing energy production to be stored and used during periods without sunlight, such as weekends. This innovative approach not only provides a sustainable energy source but also ensures a reliable and steady supply of thermal energy for industrial processes.

The results

The plant is expected to reduce approximately 1,300 tons of CO2 emissions annually and contribute to the brewery’s goal of operating on 42% renewable energy by the end of 2024.

Business benefits

The project has brought multiple benefits to HEINEKEN, including enhanced sustainability credentials, compliance with environmental regulations, and a competitive advantage through innovative technology adoption. It also contributes to the company’s long-term goal of brewing with 100% renewable energy by 2025, boosting its reputation among environmentally conscious consumers and investors.

Investment/savings

The exact financial investment in the project is not specified, but the expected reduction in CO2 emissions and reliance on renewable energy sources indicate a positive return on investment through long-term energy savings and reduced environmental impact.

Industry context

The renewable thermal energy sector is still in its nascent stages compared to renewable electricity solutions. This project represents a significant advancement in industrial-scale solar thermal technology, setting a precedent for other industries to follow. The initiative aligns with broader industry goals to transition to a circular economy and significantly reduce carbon emissions.

© Faversham House Ltd 2024 edie news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

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