Lancs brewery unveils plans for hydrogen energy-powered plant and delivery trucks
US brewer, Budweiser, will develop a green hydrogen energy production facility at its Samlesbury site, in Lancashire, which will reduce carbon emissions, lead to cleaner air and reduce vehicle noise, with HGVs also being powered by hydrogen.
The Samlesbury Net Zero project is in partnership with UK green hydrogen energy services company Protium, and when operational, will save up to 11,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. This is equivalent to taking 5,800 cars off the road, offsetting the emissions of 11,156 London to New York return flights, or planting 440,000 trees.
Budweiser says the new facility would be built next to the brewery, which lies just off the A59 between Preston and Blackburn. The facility – the electrolyser, associated plant and refuelling station – would cover an area similar in size to one and a half full-size football pitches.
The project supports the region’s wider net zero ambitions. South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council both have an ambition for their own operations and activities to be carbon neutral by 2030, and the UK is working towards a 2050 net zero target.
Under the plans, Protium would fund, build, and operate the site for the brewery, which has been in operation for more than 50 years, and is targeting the end of 2025 for it to be operational. A planning application for the project will be submitted this spring following consultation with neighbours, the community, and other local stakeholders.
Luiz Brandao, head of procurement and sustainability at Budweiser Brewing Group, said: “Sustainability is core to our business at Budweiser Brewing Group as we work towards net zero ambitions. Innovative solutions like hydrogen have huge potential for reducing our carbon footprint in the UK and moving us towards our ambitious sustainability goals.”
As part of the project, Budweiser Brewing Group would also make the change to hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles which have the potential to improve local air quality and reduce vehicle noise.
Chris Jackson, CEO of London-based Protium, said: “Samlesbury Net Zero is an investment in our environment, community, economy and our future. We’re thrilled to announce our intentions to deliver this major investment into green hydrogen energy in Lancashire.
“This is a great opportunity for Samlesbury, South Ribble and Lancashire to take a lead in tackling the climate challenges facing us all.”
Samlesbury brewery produced its first beer in March 1972. It now employs around 350 staff and has the capacity to brew 295 million pints per year, making some of the nation’s most recognised beers including Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona. The brewery site celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022.
Protium is holding a public consultation event on Saturday, March 25, at Brockholes between 10am and 4pm and has also created a dedicated website with more information at www.samlesburynetzero.co.uk
Green hydrogen is created through a process called electrolysis, where electricity from renewable sources is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. There are no carbon emissions released during the production of green hydrogen.
The project at Samlesbury would see a state-of-the-art green hydrogen production facility (HPF) constructed next door to the existing brewery site.
Once produced, the hydrogen would be fed directly to hydrogen-ready boilers allowing the brewery to meet the thermal demand of its brewing processes, as well as its other heating requirements.
It would also supply a hydrogen refuelling station for use by hydrogen-ready heavy goods vehicles. These fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) only emit water vapour while filtering particulate out of the air as they move. The heat from the HPF will also be recovered and used in Budweiser’s bottling process.
It will be Protium’s third HPF in the UK and second with Budweiser Brewing Group. Last year, Protium announced its first HPF in partnership with Budweiser Brewing Group at its Magor brewery in South Wales. It is also working on pioneering green hydrogen projects with businesses in other sectors where it has been previously difficult to reduce carbon emissions.