IT is the cutting-edge technology set to turn Glasgow’s drinkers into unwitting green warriors.
Tennent’s has broken ground on a huge carbon-capture facility at its historic Wellpark brewery which will trap and store more than 4,200 tonnes of Co2 a year.
The gas, generated as a by-product of the fermentation process, will then be used to put fizz into beer.
In a further environmental boost, the business is no longer planning to source Co2 from the north of England, meaning the elimination of transport emissions.
It is also anticipated that the technology will help the brewer increase its energy self-sufficiency, with more than 95% of the captured gas due to be reused.
“We’ve been looking at options as part of our sustainability agenda for a few years and realised there was an opportunity in the area of carbon capture,” said Martin Doogan, group engineering manager at C&C Group, the parent company of Tennent’s.
“We could see that carbon capture fitted with what we wanted to do. It was just a case of putting the pieces of the jigsaw together.
“We use Co2 to carbonate our product and give it the fizz people enjoy.
“Of course, as our production of beer increases, the demand for Co2 increases so it flows together very well in that we will be generating the Co2 needed for carbonation as part of the process.”
He added: “The installation of the new facility marks another milestone in our commitment to challenging climate change and it’s been fantastic seeing the tanks put into place and everything come together.”
Tennent’s said it had invested £2.6 million in the plant, adding that it would be fully operational by September following installation works which include the modification of 24 existing fermentation vessels.
Bringing carbon capture to Wellpark, which is located in the east end of Glasgow, is among a raft of projects undertaken by the business as it bids to enhance its green credentials.
The first brewer to join the UK Plastics Pact, it has promised to eradicate single-use plastic by 2022 and is also committed to local sourcing and waste management. A new anaerobic digestion plant opened last year.
“Currently, our canned product is placed on a tray and wrapped in shrink film, which is the plastic element,” explained Doogan.
“So we’ve ordered equipment and will be establishing it at the end of this year which will allow us to use a fully recyclable cardboard solution to pack the cans together.
“The beer will be sent out [to customers] packed in cardboard rather than shrink film.
“The plastic rings that hold cans together in packs of four or six will be removed from our process as well. In all, 150 tonnes of plastic will be removed from our production and supply process every year.
“The other big element is that we installed an anaerobic digestion plant at the end of 2019 which supplies biogas to the brewery. We anticipated this would generate 5% of the brewery’s heat but, in fact, we are currently generating around 12% of our heat requirement through the new plant.”
Doogan said the improvements were an expression of the company’s determination to meet its ecological and social obligations.
“These initiatives are great for the environment and great for the community here in the east end,” he added.
“To be able to support the brewery’s Co2 needs using carbon dioxide that is produced by the fermentation process improves our local environment in the east end of Glasgow and is a significant step in our goal to be carbon neutral by 2025.”
Doogan added: “As Scotland’s oldest business, we take our responsibility to look after our beautiful home very seriously which is why we’ve put sustainability at the heart of our entire operations, from our transport fleet, brewing and packaging to our international deliveries.
“We understand that our pledge to sustainability is a journey that will be further developed along the way, as illustrated by the installation of the new carbon capture facility following the launch of our sustainability plans last year.
“With clear targets in place for the future, we’re committed to tackling climate change now and in the years to come.”