The investment allows Carlsberg to recycle 90% of all process water and halve water usage at its brewery in Fredericia, Denmark, while reducing energy consumption by 10%.
Since the introduction of its sustainability programme Together Towards ZERO – an important element of the seven-year SAIL'22 strategy – the Carlsberg Group's ambition has been to move towards ZERO carbon emissions and ZERO water waste at its breweries, including a target to halve water usage. In specific terms, Carlsberg set out to reduce water usage from 3.4 hl of water per hl of beer at the 2015 baseline to 1.7 hl of water per hl of beer by 2030.
Following screening and evaluation by Carlsberg's Integrated Supply Chain, the Fredericia brewery was selected as a test site for its first total water recycling plant. This plant will reduce average water consumption at the brewery from the current 2.9 hl of water per hl of beer to 1.4 hl of water per hl of beer, which will make it the first brewery to virtually eliminate water waste.
It is estimated that the total water recycling plant will also reduce the brewery's energy consumption by 10% through own biogas production and recirculation of hot water, further contributing to the Together Towards ZERO sustainability programme.
"This is a big investment for us, but also a necessary next step on our journey towards ZERO water waste across all our breweries. By recycling 90% of all process water, the Fredericia brewery will halve its current average water consumption for brewing beer, taking it below our 2030 target," says Philip Hodges, EVP, Integrated Supply Chain, Carlsberg Group.
"The Fredericia brewery has consistently focused on resource management and water reduction, but we need better use of advanced water recycling technologies to reach the ambitious targets in our Together Towards ZERO programme. On the eve of its 40th anniversary, the Fredericia brewery will serve as a learning platform for all our breweries," says Philip Hodges.
Located a 1.5-hour drive from Copenhagen, the Fredericia brewery was inaugurated on 25 September, 1979. Back then, the water-to-beer ratio was 4:1 at a time when the global norm was above 6:1. Comprising a brewery, bottling plant and warehouse terminal, the Fredericia brewery employs more than 600 people in brewing, customer supply and other functions.
The state-of-the-art total water recycling plant is a partnership project initiated through the public-private partnership DRIP (the Danish partnership for Resource and water-efficient Industrial food Production). The project involves not only universities and technology providers, but also the Danish veterinary, environment and food authorities, thereby ensuring that it meets Denmark's high food and environment standards.
Søren Nøhr Bak, Expertise Director at technical consultancy company Niras says: "The total water recycling plant at Carlsberg's brewery represents a new innovative approach to safe reuse of rinsed process water, and the project introduces new technologies to improve water efficiency, building on the long-standing tradition of cooperation with Danish environment and food safety authorities as well as leading Danish universities."
Together Towards ZERO is the Carlsberg Group's vision for a better tomorrow at a time of serious challenges such as climate change, water scarcity and public health concerns. It consists of four ambitions: ZERO carbon footprint, ZERO water waste, ZERO irresponsible drinking and a ZERO accidents culture. Each of these is underpinned by individual measurable targets to be achieved by 2022 or 2030.