Official opening: solar thermal plant supports Göss brewery on the road to CO2 neutrality
Göss. Gösser is synonymous with unspoilt natural resources and optimum raw materials. The environment is therefore particularly important to Austria’s best beer. With the “Green Brewery” project, Gösser has embarked on a pioneering ambition and has worked with scientific partners for a number of years to develop the leading CO2-neutral brewery in Europe. A further milestone on this journey was celebrated on 18 September with the official start-up of the new solar plant, which occupies an area of around 1,500 m² and in future will generate part of the heat required for the brewing process in the brew house. Michael Paula, responsible for the Energy and Environmental Technology department and representing Innovation Minister Doris Bures, drew the first climate-neutral beer, and said, “The aim of our research support is to strengthen Austria as a business location. We are supporting Austrian companies to enable them to play a leading role in the fast-growing energy-technology sector in the future and are thereby securing and creating jobs.”
Göss brewery as a benchmark for best practice
Brau Union Österreich, member of the HEINEKEN Group, aims to create the optimum beer culture for the future and to develop Austria’s beer culture in such a way as to meet social and ecological challenges. As a company that operates on the basis of sustainability, Brau Union is backing a series of initiatives aimed at increasing the use of renewable energy sources and reducing the consumption of heat, electricity and fuel. A prime example of Brau Union’s sustainability commitment is the Göss brewery, which is being converted into the leading green brewery in Europe. Around 40% of the brewery’s heat requirement is met from waste heat discharged from a neighbouring saw mill, and 90% of the waste heat generated in the brewing process is used to heat water. At the beginning of this year a new boiling system was introduced in the brewing process, which helps to save just under 200,000 kilowatt-hours of power and over 6,400 m3 of water per year. In addition, the new solar plant will make an immediate contribution to the generation of environmentally friendly energy. The Göss brewery is also proud to use 100% Austrian raw materials, in recognition of which Austria’s best beer has been awarded the AMA seal by Agrarmarkt Austria Marketing.
The Green Brewery project stems from the wish to improve energy data and place a strong emphasis on sustainability in the beer industry. The use of 100% renewable energy in beer production allows massive reductions in CO2 emissions in the Göss brewery. The ultimate aim is for the brewery to become a fully CO2-neutral operation. The Göss brewery is also committed to other projects aimed at reducing its energy requirement (for example, a new boiling system has been installed and in the winter the cooling system will rely partly on cool outdoor air). Currently (including in the first half of 2013) around 55-60% of the energy consumed by the Göss brewery is renewable thermal energy (the 2012 figure was already 74% if electricity is included). In addition, 100% of the external power used in the Göss brewery is green electricity, as is the case in all the breweries operated by Brau Union Österreich.
Jointly pursuing the goal
The expertise in brewing beer without fossil fuels (oil, coal, natural gas) which the Göss brewery is acquiring as it moves towards CO2 neutrality is also being put to use by Brau Union Österreich in other breweries, such as Puntigam and Schladming. To enable as many beer brewers as possible to help mitigate climate change, the company has compiled its own industry guide incorporating the key findings. The results are also presented at conferences such as that of the Federation of Austrian Master Brewers and Brewery Technicians. After all, the more beer that is produced in a CO2-neutral way, the better that will be for the climate of the future.
The development of the Green Brewery would not have been possible without committed partners in a wide range of fields. These include Joanneum Research, AEE lntec, Sunmark A/S and GEA Brewery Systems GmbH. The new solar thermal plant was also co-financed by the Austrian government’s Climate and Energy Fund and supported by additional EU funding under the Seventh Framework Programme.
“We are aware of the huge responsibility we bear for the environment, society, customers, consumers and employees. Beer is a natural product. It is made of raw materials which depend on a healthy environment. Therefore, in addition to our commitment to employees and society, we also set great store by environmental protection and mitigation of climate change,” said Markus Liebl, CEO of Brau Union Österreich.
Information on sustainability and the Göss brewery is also available online at nachhaltigkeit.brauunion.at
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