With a view to creating the first green hydrogen supply to a brewery, Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, the UK arm of global brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, and Protium, the leading UK-based green hydrogen energy company, have teamed up to explore the deployment of zero emission green hydrogen at Magor brewery in South Wales, one of the largest breweries in the UK.
Bolstering Budweiser Brewing Group's ambitious sustainability objectives, the project would build the first large-scale hydrogen generation system at a brewery. The hydrogen will fuel the brewery's production, as well as its key logistics assets including Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and forklift trucks. The use of green hydrogen technology will help to provide zero carbon power and fuel for all its operations, an important step for the brewery to become carbon neutral.
The use of hydrogen-fuelled solutions aims to provide Magor Brewery with clean on-site power, which, if successful, will demonstrate Budweiser Brewing Group paving the way to a more sustainable future for the broader industry. Globally, AB InBev has set ambitious 2025 Sustainability Goals which includes 100% of its electricity throughout its worldwide operations will come from renewable sources.
Hydrogen is an exciting opportunity as it's the lightest and the most abundant element in the universe. 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.
Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd said: "I am very pleased this project is taking place right here in Wales. Tackling climate change is a priority for the Welsh Government and this project at an important employer in the sector will be important to our efforts. It also has the potential to create new jobs and exciting opportunities in the area for years to come."
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), adjacent 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 CO2e 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. The brewer is a pioneer in deploying sustainable solutions and recognises that 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.
Mauricio Coindreau, Head of Sustainability and Procurement at Budweiser Brewing Group said, "Sustainability and the wellbeing of our planet are at the core of our business. Innovative energy solutions like hydrogen have huge potential as a key part of our sustainability strategy, helping us significantly reduce our UK carbon footprint. As a company we are committed to continuously exploring technology that can help us meet our ambitious 2025 Sustainability Goals, so the key focus of this project is to ensure the efficient operation, application, and sustainability advantages of green hydrogen."
Chris Jackson, CEO of Protium, said: "Green hydrogen is a truly exciting opportunity for the global energy sector and the UK economy as a whole, with various energy leaders and environmentalists supporting its deployment, so we're delighted to be working with a brand that shares our forward-thinking vision. The entire Protium team is thrilled to showcase the potential of green hydrogen and the benefits it can deliver to Budweiser, the local community in Magor, and the environment."
This represents another sustainable step forward for Budweiser Brewing Group who announced last year that 100% of the barley used to brew its beers in the UK is now sourced from British farms, reducing carbon emissions from previous importation while championing local agriculture. Additionally, 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.
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.