Page 18 - Food & Drink March 2020
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Leader of the pack
For leading Australasian brewer Lion, 2019 was a watershed. For more than a decade the company had been implementing a range of sustainability initiatives, but last year saw an acceleration of its commitments. Kim Berry reports.
LAST November, Lion CEO Stuart Irvine said the company was “pulling every carbon abatement lever available”.
His announcement was the latest in a series of environmental commitments made over the previous decade, culminating in the company’s carbon abatement plans.
For Lion’s group environment director Justin Merrell, Irvine’s bold statement echoed what drew him to the company 18 months earlier.
Merrell told Food & Drink Business that in Lion, he saw a company transparent about its environmental credentials with some runs on the board but keen to do more and step into an industry leadership role.
When Merrell joined Lion in mid-2018, there were already a number of major energy efficiency commitments the
company had made in its breweries and engineering.
Irvine says Lion is on track to meet its target of 30 per cent carbon reduction by 2025 over its 2015 baseline thanks to its “whole of brewery” carbon reduction approach.
That approach incorporates energy efficiency, biogas usage, rooftop solar, renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPAs), as well as providing brewers grain to reduce livestock emissions.
In 2019, a large solar array was installed at XXXX’s Castlemaine Perkins Brewery in Brisbane.
The 858-kilowatt system will generate approximately 1,368,000 kilowatt-hours annually – the equivalent of electricity used by 150 homes in Brisbane in a year.
The XXXX site also has a reverse osmosis plant to reuse wastewater. It means beer can be produced at a ratio of around 2.8 litres of water for every litre
of beer made, which is approaching world-leading standards of water efficiency for brewing, Merrell says.
Wastewater from the entire site is used to create biogas. This biogas is then used as a fuel to offset some of the natural gas usage in its steam boilers. The steam generated by the boilers is supplied across the site as an energy source for heating, cleaning equipment, pasteurisers, and boiling the wort kettle.
From there, it goes through various filtration stages before reaching the final reverse osmosis machines, where it is pushed by high pressure through tiny membranes that are only small enough for water molecules to squeeze through.
Merrell says: “At that stage the wastewater is cleaner than rainwater. After sterilisation, the waste water is reused in cooling towers, boilers, and for cleaning. The numbers for this plant speak volumes.
“In 2018, it generated more than 220 million litres, or the equivalent of 88 Olympic-sized swimming pools.”
From the large scale of XXXX to the microbrewery Tiny Mountain in Townsville, Queensland, Lion looks at all parts of the supply chain for potential waste reduction and energy savings.
At Tiny Mountain, two local farms have signed up to take its grain waste for use as stockfeed.
At Lion’s Little Creatures brewery in Geelong, Victoria the environmental focus is sharpened by business growth.
“The site is about to expand for the third time in five years. As the brewery’s production and footprint grow, we are mindful of doing the right thing by the environment and improving the site’s energy efficiency.
“This year a 651-kilowatt solar array will be installed, to produce more than twenty per cent of the electricity used at Little Creatures annually,” Merrell says.
The Tiny Mountain team is making a difference with local farmers.
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