Carlsberg Aims To Produce Beer With Renewable Energy

(3BL Media/JustMeans) — When someone takes a swig from their favorite beer, they may not realize that brewing beer is an energy intensive process. But brewing companies that want to reduce their carbon emissions are well aware of the issue.

That's why Carlsberg Group, a global brewer headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, has set the lofty goal of powering its breweries with only renewable energy by 2022. 

The 170 year-old company also has a new program called Together Towards Zero. That program is a means to meet its pledge to achieve zero carbon emissions at its breweries by 2030. By that same year, Carlsberg aims to have reduced the carbon footprint of putting a beer in its customers' hands by 30 percent. (Brewing accounts for 14 percent of the company’s carbon footprint.)

Last year, about 45 percent of Carlsberg’s electricity came from renewable sources. The company extracts biogas from the waste water produced at 18 of its breweries around the world. In India, Carlsberg installed three rooftop solar systems that will supply 10 percent of that site’s total power needs. And it buys third party renewable energy certificates with guarantees of origin when it can’t produce its own renewable energy.

Solar and heat recovery are two innovative technologies in which Carlsberg has invested. The company installed solar panels on the rooftop of its Dali brewery in Yunnan, China that meet about 20 percent of its electricity needs. That solar power installation will help the company reduce the over 1,800 tons of carbon the brewery emits annually. The solar array consists of 8,006 panels—the company’s largest rooftop solar array and the fourth largest one globally on any brewery.

Carlsberg uses heat recovery at its Sinebrychoff plant in Finland to reduce its energy use by nine percent since 2005. Heat that amounts to about 15,000 megawatt hours (MWh) is recovered annually from the plant’s processes such as its beer cooling systems, compressors and wastewater. The energy recovered is used in production and to heat buildings and offices.

Solar and heat recovery are not the only types of renewable energy Carlsberg is investing in. During the company’s week-long celebration of its 170th anniversary last month, it opened the Zero Carbon Windmill Bar in Copenhagen. The bar is powered in full by an integrated windmill and an attached bicycle that consumers can use to generate enough power to pour their beer if there is no wind.

Can beer be produced by harnessing the power of renewable energy sources? Carlsberg's practices and programs prove that the answer is a resounding "yes."

Photo: Carlsberg Group