Heineken claims to have unveiled the world’s first large-scale carbon-neutral brewery.
Converted from a traditional brewery in the Austrian alpine town of Göss, the site gets all its power from hydroelectricity and is heated by a combination of solar, biogas and biomass.
The brewery, built in 1860 but with a brewing heritage tracing back to 960AD, produces 1.4m bottles of Gösser beer every day.
Heineken claims the sustainability modifications to the brewery have reduced the net carbon emissions from 3,000 tonnes a year to zero.
Everything is procured locally, Heineken said. The hops and barley are sourced from 15 farming families within 100km of the brewery, the water comes from the brewery’s own wells independent from the national water grid and the hydropower station providing all the brewery’s electricity is “a short distance from the town centre.”
Göss also uses waste from the brewing process to generate heat. “A revolutionary fermentation process generates enough [methane] from the 18,000 tonnes of spent grain and filter residues to heat the brewery's boilers,” Heineken said.
Half of brewery's thermal energy is produced from burning carbon neutral methane made using this method. The brewery also supplements this with biomass made of waste product from a neighbouring sawmill.
Between 3-5% of thermal energy is produced from solar.
“I am proud of what we have achieved for the Heineken Company and want to help our other breweries, and the wider brewing industry, make renewable energy part of their energy mix, just as we have done,” said Göss brew master Andreas Werner.
Heineken said lessons learned from the Göss brewery are already being used across the company and added Heineken Netherlands has made it an ambition to become carbon neutral.