GEA supplies Heineken UK with heat pump solutions for Manchester site

Two brewhouse vessels installed by GEA
Two brewhouse vessels installed by GEA Source - HEINEKEN UK

GEA supplies its long-term customer HEINEKEN UK with a low-carbon heat network for its Manchester brewery. This is in support of HEINEKEN’s global ambition to reach net zero across its production sites (scopes 1 and 2) by 2030. The Manchester brewery produces about 400 million liters of Heineken, Birra Moretti, and Foster’s beer per year.

For HEINEKEN UK, Manchester brewery’s decarbonization journey starts with the installation of heat pumps and a heat pump network capturing and reusing heat to brew and package beer. GEA will design, supply and install the low carbon heat network to the existing plant and will also modify the legacy process equipment. Currently, steam is produced in large steam boilers powered by natural gas. With the new system, HEINEKEN UK will use a low temperature (90°C) hot water network – driven by GEA heat pumps - thus replacing the steam boilers with environmentally friendly heat pumps powered by electricity. GEA’s heat pump solution operates on an environmentally friendly ammonia refrigerant with zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and zero global warming potential (GWP). Distribution and recovery pipe work make up the foundation of the network, which will absorb the heat from multiple processes.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024. Once completed, HEINEKEN UK estimates that the installation will result in a 45 percent decrease in gas use, leading to a reduction in carbon emissions. GEA’s high level of expertise in brewing and ability to offer a completely sustainable energy solution in-house convinced HEINEKEN UK.

“We want to brew a better world and we need to act now if we are going to meet our 2030 net zero ambitions. Heat pumps are a key technology on our journey to decarbonizing our breweries and enable us to create a circular process with the excess heat that is created during the brewing process. As GEA brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the project as well as some well-engineered technical solutions, we appointed GEA – after a thorough tender process - to support us in decarbonizing our Manchester site,” says Chelsey Wroe, head of sustainability at HEINEKEN UK.

HEINEKEN UK’s Manchester brewery
HEINEKEN UK’s Manchester brewery Source - HEINEKEN UK

Supporting customers in achieving their decarbonization goals through in-house expertise

In this project, GEA combined its heat pump technology with its substantial experience in the brewing process industry. “Our ability to deliver a design, which recognized the complex and diverse energy demands of a large scale 24/7 brewing operation made the difference,” John Burden, director of project sales at GEA’s Heating & Refrigeration Technologies Division, explains.

Matthew Hadwen, sales manager Brewery at GEA’s Liquid & Powder Technologies Division, who lead the project, adds, “Being able to do it all in-house makes us a more reliable partner to HEINEKEN, who are truly serious about their sustainability goals. Hopefully, this approach will encourage other companies to follow their example.”

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