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How this Samlesbury brewery could help Budweiser meet net zero targets

Posted on - 7th April, 2023 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Preston News, Redevelopment, South Ribble News
Entrance to the brewery in Samlesbury
Entrance to the brewery in Samlesbury

A Samlesbury brewery has announced plans to cut its carbon emissions by developing a green hydrogen energy production facility at the site. 

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The Samlesbury Net Zero project, coupled with other initiatives, aims to help the Budweiser Brewing Group meet its thermal demand, heating and transport needs through green hydrogen energy.

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As well as reducing the brewery’s carbon emissions, it will lead to cleaner air and reduced vehicle noise with heavy goods vehicles also being powered by hydrogen. 

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.

Made possible by a partnership with leading UK green hydrogen energy services company Protium, the Samlesbury Net Zero project 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.

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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.

Under the plans, Protium would fund, build, and operate the site for the brewery 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.

Aerial shot of Samlesbury Brewery
The brewery could make use of green hydrogen

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 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.

“Working with the local community will be at the heart of this project. We want to use the local supply chain where possible and engage with the education and business communities to provide upskilling opportunities for the region in green hydrogen energy production.”

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Chris added: “Removing carbon emissions from sectors like manufacturing is one of the biggest challenges we face in reaching net zero. Green hydrogen is the hugely exciting next step in global energy transition, happening right here in Lancashire, to drive down these emissions and futureproof our vital industries.

“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.

Globally, AB InBev has ambitious sustainability goals which include 100 per cent of its electricity coming from renewable sources and achieving net zero across its value chain by 2040. It has also removed all plastic rings from its beers and decreased its use of plastic shrink wrapping, removing 850 tonnes of plastic waste from its supply chain.

AB InBev aims to achieve net zero across its value chain by 2040, and the government has set a target for the UK as a nation to get to net zero by 2050. AB InBev’s 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance report is available on the AB InBev website.

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