AB InBev turns to green hydrogen for Magor brewery

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/olemedia
Pic:getty/olemedia

Related tags: Ab inbev, Uk, Sustainability

Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I and green hydrogen energy company Protium have teamed up to explore the deployment of zero emission green hydrogen at the Magor brewery in South Wales, one of the largest breweries in the UK.

The project aims to build the first large-scale hydrogen generation system at a brewery: ‘revolutionising’ the brewer’s existing on-site transport and energy generation and consumption, eliminating 15,500 tonnes of CO2 per year. It could be used power the brewery’s production and key logistics assets such as HGVs and forklift trucks.

The use of green hydrogen will help to provide zero carbon power and fuel for all operations, an important step for the brewery to become carbon neutral.

Why green hydrogen?

Globally, AB InBev has pledged to have 100% of its electricity come from renewable sources by 2025.

“Hydrogen is an exciting opportunity as it’s the lightest and the most abundant element in the universe,” ​it says. “It also acts as an energy carrier which means it could play a crucial role in supporting the transition to a decarbonised global economy.

“There are zero greenhouse gas emissions associated with hydrogen generation if the energy required for this process originates entirely from renewable sources, such as solar or wind. In this case, the hydrogen is commonly referred to as ‘green’ hydrogen.” 

Budweiser Brewing Group’s existing wind and solar assets currently operating on-site will be used to manufacture the green hydrogen at Protium’s Hydrogen Production Facility (HPF), located next to the brewery.

The facility will include a battery, hydrogen storage unit, and a hydrogen refuelling station used for HGVs, saving approximately 15,500 tonnes of CO2​e per year from 2027, equating to the removal of roughly 3,300 cars from UK roads or 12,000 long haul flights per year. The Hydrogen Production Facility will also be fed by Protium’s own renewable energy electricity (solar and wind) from the local area. 

Budweiser Brewing Group already powers its brewing operations at Magor Brewery with 100% renewable electricity from solar farms and a wind turbine on-site. But it says that the investment in hydrogen is about pioneering new and better solutions: ‘the intermittent nature of renewable electricity, in harmony with hydrogen, creates a complementary, natural and emissions-free energy solution for its production and supply chains’.

The project, which is expected to be commercially operational by 2024, will see one of the first deployments of the hydrogen purchase agreement (HPA) among both parties, ultimately creating the first commercial platform for the hydrogen economy by using long term zero emissions off-take agreements. 

Last year, Budweiser Brewing Group announced that 100% of the barley used to brew its beers in the UK is now sourced from British farms, reducing carbon emissions while supporting local agriculture. The brewer has also removed all plastic rings from its beers and decreased its usage of plastic shrink wrap, removing 850 tonnes of plastic waste from its supply chain. 

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