Heineken’s brewery in Austria now produces two valuable products – beer and biogas.
“Brewing a better Future” is the name of Heineken’s sustainability initiative. A key technology for the implementation of this objective to produce biogas comes from the Styrian plant manufacturer BDI – BioEnergy International AG: Brewery residues will be recycled in a spent-grain fermentation plant for the energy supply of the Göss brewery. Investment in the turnkey BDI plant is in the mid-single-digit million range.
Brewery Göss, one of the most important breweries of Brau Union Österreich and part of the Heineken family, is opting for sustainability in beer production. Within the Group-wide initiative entitled “Brewing a Better Future”, the first major green brewery in the world will now become reality – “Green Brewery Göss” has decided to use renewable energies in all its processes. Therefore only renewable energy sources will be used for energy supply and thus fossil-fuel CO2 emissions in the complete brewing process will be reduced to zero. With electricity from hydro-electric power, biomass district heating and solar heat, this objective has largely been implemented.
With the BDI spent-grain fermentation plant, fossil-fuel gas will also be replaced. The energy created from the residual materials is used in the brewery to create steam, and excess gas is converted to electrical power. In addition the digestate, a by-product of the spent-grain fermentation plant, is used as high-quality fertiliser.
“As a result of the optimum technical integration of the demanding environmental requirements in the BDI process, we were able to convince Brau Union Österreich of our solution”, said Hermann Stockinger, PhD, Director of Global Sales of BDI – BioEnergy International AG.
“The Göss spent-grain fermentation plant opens for BDI not just the possibility of further global cooperation with Heineken, but also constitutes an industrial reference plant for the sustainable generation of energy from residual materials from the food and beverage industry”, emphasises Stockinger.
“We are aware that we, as the leading brewery company in Austria, have a great responsibility to the customers, consumers, employees, environment but also to society. Beer is a natural product – it consists of raw materials that require an intact environment. Therefore, in addition to our commitment to employees and society, the environment and climate protection is a major issue for us”, stresses Markus Liebl, CEO of Brau Union Österreich.
“We try of course to carry out sustainability initiatives in all our breweries. We already saw one of our breweries in Styria as a pioneering project:The Göss brewery is a shining example of Brau Union Österreich’s commitment to sustainability”, said Markus Liebl. Around 40% of the brewery’s heating requirement are already covered by the waste heat from the neighbouring wood processing Mayr-Melnhof plant; 90% of the waste heat generated by the brewing process is used to heat up water. In addition, a new type of boiling system is used during the brewing process, which helps to save electricity and water. A solar plant that is around 1500 square metres large also helps to obtain environmentally-friendly energy. Now a further milestone – unique in the world – has been reached: “Our final objective was to turn the Göss brewery into a completely carbon-neutral plant – this objective has been achieved with the spent-grain fermentation plant to produce biogas”, explains Andreas Werner, brew-master of Göss Brewery, proudly.