World’s largest brewer orders 800 hydrogen-electric trucks

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has ordered 800 zero-emission, hydrogen-electric semi-trucks as part of its bid to run its entire fleet of long-haul trucks on clean energy by 2025.

Produced by Nikola Motor Company, the trucks can travel between 500-1,200 miles on one 20-minute charge and will be integrated into the world’s largest brewer’s fleet from 2020.

“At Anheuser-Busch we’re continuously searching for ways to improve sustainability across our entire value chain and drive our industry forward,” said AB InBev’s chief executive Michel Doukeris. “The transport industry is one that is ripe for innovative solutions and Nikola is leading the way with hydrogen-electric, zero-emission capabilities.”

Once fully implemented, the 800 trucks will reduce the brewer’s CO2 emissions from logistics by more than 18% – equivalent to taking more than 13,000 cars off the road annually.

They work by feeding compressed hydrogen gas into hydrogen fuel cells where it is combined with oxygen from the air in a process that produces water as well as electricity to power the truck.

The introduction of the new trucks is the latest move in AB InBev’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2025 against a 2017 baseline – a reduction submitted through the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTI), covering scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

The Budweiser and Stella Artois owner is known for utilising transport measures to achieve this aim; it previously used an autonomous truck to deliver 50,000 cases of Budweiser across a 120-mile route in Colorado and last year, it submitted an order for 40 Tesla plug-in semi-trucks.

Responsible brewing 

AB InBev’s emissions reduction targets form part of a wider sustainability strategy, which also includes a pledge to ensure all packaging is returnable or made from “majority-recycled”content.

Other noteworthy commitments include ensuring 100% of direct farmers are “skilled, connected and financially-empowered”, brewing all Budweiser beers with 100% renewable electricity, and giving communities in high-stress water areas measurably improved access to, and quality of, water.

Last month, AB InBev announced it would be rolling out what it claims is a greener way to put bubbles in beer and reduce its CO2 emissions by 5%.

It was one of 74 companies placed on CDP’s A list for water reporting last year and has reduced water use to 3.09hl/hl on average across more than 200 breweries. AB InBev’s UK breweries have cut the amount of water required for a pint of beer by 30% over the past five years.

Speaking exclusively to edie in March, AB InBev’s chief sustainability & procurement officer Tony Milikin said: “Around 10% of our water use is from inside the factory, so there’s a responsibility for us to be involved with the communities. About a quarter of our beer is brewed in water-restricted areas so it’s not only a business issue for us but also a moral one.”

Sarah George

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