Meet the E&E Award-winner: Environmental Product Innovation – Heineken UK

The storing and serving of draught beer and cider is both energy and water intensive, but Heineken has developed a solution to combat this - SmartDispense, a draught dispense technology aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of the hospitality and drinks sector. Meet the winner of the Environmental Product Innovation Award...

Pubs and bars typically store beer in kegs that are kept in a cooled cellar. Draught cooling systems are then used to deliver beer from kegs to a consumer’s glass – an approach that is highly energy inefficient as around 95% of the energy used to cool a pub’s cellar is wasted. In addition, these systems require regular cleaning, which uses significant amounts of water and chemicals.

Heineken’s answer was to invest around £5 million to develop a novel green draught dispense system. By reducing the need to store and cool beer in kegs, SmartDispense claims to cut water use by around 75%, and energy use by at least 20%. In addition, it  reduces beer waste and improves product quality for consumers.

The system features a highly efficient hydro-carbon cooler, which is around 20% more energy efficient than traditional equivalents. Cooling is focused on the insulated dispense system, rather than the whole cellar space, reducing heat loss and saving energy. It maintains beer and cider lines below a critical temperature, reducing the amount of cleaning needed from one week to four weeks.

SmartDispense does not use bare beer lines to deliver beer from kegs to tap. This means that beer or cider stored in a SmartDispense unit does not come into contact with light after being placed in the keg, until it enters the consumer’s glass – preserving product quality and freshness.

Heineken claims the system could save a typical pub around 4,500 litres of water per year. To date, the company has introduced SmartDispense into 3,100 restaurants, hotels and pubs over a three-year period – across all outlets, it estimates the system has helped save nearly 14 million litres of water in a year.

As SmartDispense also improves the yield a customer gets from each keg, the volume of beer product wasted during line clean is reduced by an average of 680 litres per year – an amount that’s worth more than £4,000 when sold at retail price.

Heineken has designed the system to be scalable; there are an estimated 48,000 pubs in the UK that could potentially benefit. This year the company is looking to accelerate roll-out and expand product range – a compact mobile version is available for small restaurants and bars, while a larger volume solution is targeting big restaurants, hotels and bars. The company is also exploring opportunities to launch SmartDispense worldwide.

Judges’ comments:

Heinekens smart dispenser has holistic benefits for the hospitality sector, consumers and the environment. The innovation saves significant costs, energy and water, also reducing chemical use and actually enhancing the end product – brilliant!

Environmental Product Innovation: Meet the finalists


Autogas purchased a second-hand model London taxi and developed a re-powering solution using a new modern two-litre turbo petrol engine, totally replacing the existing diesel engine and simultaneously installing a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) system to the vehicle. This simple-yet-innovative solution provides fuel savings of around 20% compared to diesel systems, meaning a potential operator could recoup the cost of a conversion after driving approximately 70,000 miles.

Dipetane International

Dipetane is clear carrier oil which, in effect, equalises and stabilises carbon chains in all fossil fuels to enable a more complete combustion. This fuel treatment technology is unique; enhancing the combustion process by burning more carbon. Dipetane also produces more fuel efficiency; increasing output by up to 10% while using minimal carbon deposits and lower exhaust emissions.

SpillAway Projects

‘Liquid Remediact’ is a member of the SpillAway range of bio-remedial products for industrial hydrocarbon contamination clean-up. Using Liquid Remediact can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of dealing with hydrocarbon contamination as it may be used in-situ to eradicate the contamination, without posing a threat to the environment. By enhancing the natural process of bio-remediation, Liquid Remediact removes the hydrocarbons, leaving just water and very small traces of inert gases.


Icebank Cooler

The Icebank Cooler is an innovative, large 600-litre fridge that can cope with long, daily power outages. The Cooler freezes 50 kilos water that works as an integrated thermal battery to cool down or maintain a desired temperature of between three and six degrees Celsius. The system releases the cooling slowly during power outages, and virtually eliminates the usage of the diesel generators, meaning reduced noise and lower emissions.

edie staff

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