Carlsberg brewery opens water recycling plant

The brewery becomes the world’s most water-efficient brewery
Carlsberg brewery opens water recycling plant
Carlsberg's Fredericia brewery will save more than 500 million liters of water a year. 90% of process water from the production of beer and soft drinks will be recycled in the production facility.Photo - Carlsberg

Carlsberg recently inaugurated a new, revolutionary water recycling plant that recycles 90% of the process water at the Carlsberg brewery in Fredericia, Denmark. According to the company’s statement, this makes the Fredericia brewery the most water-efficient in the world. Learnings from the brewery will enable the group to reach its target to eliminate water waste globally by 2030 virtually.

With the new water recycling plant, the Fredericia brewery will save more than 500 million liters of water a year. 90% of process water from the production of beer and soft drinks will be recycled in the production facility. Water consumption will be halved from the current 2.9 hl of water per hl of beer to 1.4 hl of water per hl of beer.

“We are immensely proud to be able to unveil the world’s most water-efficient brewing facility. Water is a basic ingredient in all our products, so water resource management is a high priority. Our water to beer ratio has always been low. Now we are taking it a step further. By recycling process water in our production, we are virtually eliminating water waste,” says Philip Hodges, executive vice president Integrated Supply Chain, Carlsberg Group.

Water is not only a basic ingredient in the products from Carlsberg but is also essential to the sustainability of the societies where the brewery operates, and clean water is a priority in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, Carlsberg aims to eliminate water waste by 2030 as part of the group’s sustainability program Together Towards Zero.

“We have a goal of zero water waste globally in 2030. As a global company, we have a responsibility to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and as a brewery, we have a special responsibility to reduce water waste in our global production. The new water recycling plant in Fredericia will generate important learnings that can be implemented across our breweries in the rest of the world,” says Carlsberg Group chief executive officer Cees ’t Hart.

It is estimated that the water recycling plant will also reduce the brewery’s energy consumption by 10% through its biogas production and recirculation of hot water, further contributing to the Together Towards ZERO sustainability program.

The new plant results from broad collaboration in the Danish partnership for Resource and water-efficient Industrial food Production (DRIP). For the project to succeed, both businesses, technical experts and health, and food authorities have had to rethink how we use and reuse water and expand the limits of water purification and circularity.

“The plant in Fredericia is built on a new and innovative approach to cleaning and recycling process water where you, among other things, use UV-light to eliminate bacteria. At the same time, biogas is produced as a residual product, which can be used to produce energy. It is a whole new form of circularity in food production. In fact, the process water ends up being clean enough to drink. Still, we are only using the water to clean the production facilities,” says Carlsberg Denmark Brewing director, Anders Kokholm.

The new facility will be inaugurated at a special event attended by the Danish prime minister and representatives from Carlsberg and the DRIP partnership.

Together Towards ZERO is Carlsberg’s vision for a better and more sustainable future in a time with the serious challenge such as climate change and water scarcity. The program consists of four goals: ZERO CO2 emissions, ZERO water waste, ZERO irresponsible drinking culture, and ZERO work-related accidents. Each of the four ambitions is supported by individual and measurable goals, which are to be obtained by 2022 or 2030.

The brewery’s business depends on the availability of clean water. No water, no beer. But the supplies are becoming more and more scarce in some regions where its beer is brewed, so it must use it sparingly.

With a goal to reduce water consumption in its breweries by half by 2030 and reduce it by 25% by 2022, Carlsberg is obligated to eliminate water waste. Through community partnerships, it helps preserve common sources of water around its breweries, focusing on areas classified as high risk.

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